Today, the High Court of Zimbabwe has ordered that the government restore full Internet in the country. This is days after Internet access was cut off by the government through a directive due to clashes that were happening in the country.
According to this communiqué by Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe, High Court judge, Justice Owen Tagu delivered the ruling saying that the Minister of State in the President’s Office responsible for National Security doesn’t have the authority to issue any directives in terms of the Interception of Communications Act.
That meant that the directives that were issued to shut down the Internet in the country were illegal and therefore without effect.
The court also said that only the President has the authority of making such an order where he can assign a Cabinet member to act on his behalf.
“The court did not consider whether the government has the right to completely shut down the Internet,” the communiqué said. “And if so, whether the Interception of Communications Act is the proper law to effect Internet shut downs or any other disruptions of communications.”
This directive by the High Court of Zimbabwe means that network operators and Internet service providers should restore full Internet access in the country.
Internet access in Zimbabwe has been shut since 15th January and during that time, we have seen Zimbabweans download VPNs to access their favourite social media platforms as well as download Telegram to use as a substitute to the blocked WhatsApp.