Freedom of expression watchdog MISA Zimbabwe has condemned the apparent disabling of the WhatsApp platform in Zimbabwe which has been hit by ongoing ShutDown Zimbabwe protests in various parts of the country.
Expressing grave concern‚ MISA‚ a non-governmental organisation‚ said that WhatsApp had been down since Wednesday morning.
This was also confirmed in several messages on social media.
MISA said the platform had become the main communication tool Zimbabweans were using to mobilise and share information on the protests.
“MISA-Zimbabwe condemns this brazen violation of citizens’ right to freely express themselves and access information through communication platforms of their choice as guaranteed in the constitution.
By blocking the popular information sharing tool‚ Zimbabwe now joins a growing list of despotic regimes that resort to such cowardly acts when faced with growing citizen dissent‚” the organisation said in a statement.
While it was still to be ascertained whether the blockage was at the behest of the government‚ threats issued against citizens using social media to express themselves during the protest raised suspicions on its culpability‚ MISA added.
“This is further buttressed by the deafening silence on the part of Internet Service Providers (IPS)‚ mobile network operators and the government on what exactly is transpiring.”
Meanwhile‚ activists on Twitter have heralded the nationwide protest as a success.