Zimbabwe government which has been under military control for over three weeks since the ouster of the world’s oldest living leader Robert Mugabe, 93 is almost certainly responsible for Tuesday internet blackout that shut down virtually all Internet service in the country, according to a senior military operative based at the University of Zimbabwe’s Zimbabwe Centre for High-Performance Computing (Zim-CHPC).
A leading technology magazine TechZim is reported as saying that a tractor that was ploughing a field in the Limpopo province in South Africa apparently cut through some fibre owned by one of Liquid Telecom Zimbabwe’s suppliers named as Broadband Infraco, a South African state-own backhaul internet provider.
In an interview, the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Supa Mandiwanzira said Government was concerned about the blackout as it affected the running of the country’s economy.
“We’re very concerned as Government that the people failed to get service for most of the day and that has hugely affected business. Internet banking wasn’t working, mobile banking wasn’t working. A lot of travel agents had been complaining, they couldn’t issue any tickets. Several Government services were not available because they are internet-based. So in way we are concerned to have such kind of a problem especially at this time,” said Mandiwanzira.
He said the shutdown was caused by technical faults affecting local service providers.
Mandiwanzira said he had assigned the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to investigate the issue and put in place measures to forestall similar disruptions in future.
“I as the minister have been talking to Liquid Telecom and TelOne who told me that they had a connectivity problem in South Africa where their fibre optic cable was cut off by a truck 17KM into South Africa,” said Cde Mandiwanzira.
“But we would have expected that the redundant services should have sprung into action but it seems they had some problems but through the regulator we will look into what the problems were and how this can be avoided in future.”
Despite these claims, a high ranking operative who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was ‘work in progress in light of new developments ‘ on the supercomputer was installed by Inspur Group of China funded by a $5,4 million loan courtesy of the Chinese government in 2015.
” The new regime is tightening its grip and could prove much more brutal than Mugabe himself.The real reason is to clamp down on citizens who’ve been using social media to criticize the government and this administration wants to protect itself. Have you ever asked yourself why Supa Mandiwanzira remained in his portfolio? “, he said.
Zimbabwe’s military leaders seized control of the country after placing leader Mugabe under house arrest and deploying armoured vehicles to the streets of the capital, Harare before announcing in a dramatic televised statement refuting a military takeover was underway.