Zimbabwe’s increasing isolation
There is growing anger in Zimbabwe that government repression is being matched by attempts to shut down social media.
Curtailing access to the internet is another form of censorship.
Controlling the internet is used to prevent WhatsApp, Twitter and Instagram being used to record government repression and share news of protests
Virtual Private Networks rule!
With the internet restricted, people are turning to VPNs. These use a technology that circumvents geographical restrictions and censorship while keeping one’s location and identity unknown.
The best list of VPN’s for Zimbabwe has been published.
But with poor power supplies (even in Harare) it is difficult to recharge phones and other devices.
People are almost confined to their homes and soldiers are guarding shops. There are worries about food supplies, while fuel is almost unattainable.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has been travelling to central Asia, Russia and Europe in an attempt to rally international support and investment that might stave off the total collapse of the country’s economy.
The outlook for Zimbabwe looks increasingly grim, with fears in South Africa of another influx of economic refugees from its northern neighbour.
An African pattern
Restricting access to the internet follows a pattern established in Sudan, where protests against government repression have met with the closure of social media.
This has not prevented clashes with police and a rising death toll.
In Sudan some 40 have died since the opposition to Omar al-Bashir’s regime erupted on 24 December. And the number is rising.
The DR Congo also restricted access to the internet during the recent presidential elections.
This is becoming a familiar pattern whenever African governments are challenged.