Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, left, arrives at Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, Zimbabwe, Monday, Jan. 21, 2019. Mnangagwa arrived in Harare late Monday after cutting short his fund-raising trip in order to address the country’s economic crisis and crackdown.
Mnangagwa said the government considered all options to control the protests that turned into violence, saying social media was used by criminals to commit crimes.
On January 15, the authorities blocked the Internet. Some services resumed briefly on January 16.
At noon on January 18, Econet Wireless issued another statement saying that they had received “substantially directed to open access to Internet services in accordance with ministerial directives, except for designated social media software.”
The government has restored some services but blocked social media software such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.
However, Mnangagwa said on Twitter on Friday: "I am convinced of freedom of speech and freedom of speech. These rights are already enshrined in our constitution. You only need to read the newspaper or read my social media commentary to see how critical I am. I Welcome this.
“What we saw last week was a social network that was used to plan and incite chaos and spread the wrong message that led to violence. In response, it was decided to temporarily restrict access to prevent looting and violence and help restore calm.
"I know that we have not taken any criticism of this decision. These measures are temporary, tactical, and aimed at restoring peace. This has been achieved, all restrictions have been removed, and I look forward to continuing to participate freely in social media. "
After the High Court ordered the government to fully restore all services, the Internet service was restored and the State Security Minister Owen Njob was ruled to surpass his power when he issued the decree.
The High Court’s ruling was filed after the Press Freedom Organization’s Zimbabwe Media Institute and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Counsel filed a joint emergency application, which considered the Internet to be abusing the “Interception of Communications Act” and did not provide for provisions that gave government power. Turn off the network completely.