Anti Mugabe songs rent the air today in the capital city of Harare and some other towns and cities across Zimbabwe as massive crowd of Zimbabweans demand for the resignation of the 92 years old president Robert Mugabe.
In anticipation of the effect of social media on the protest the government has ensure that internet facilities should be shut as Instant messaging app WhatsApp experienced downtime on mobile networks currently in Zimbabwe on Wednesday as protest action started taking root.
Zimbabweans woke up to no WhatsApp connectivity through their mobile phones on Wednesday, a rare occurrence in the country over the past few years.
The unavailability of WhatsApp coincided with nationwide protests which has fueled suspicion that government asked telcos to cut WhatsApp connectivity.
Econet Wireless, the biggest of Zimbabwe’s three mobile operators, confirmed around midday on Wednesday that WhatsApp was down on its network.
Econet, though, did not disclose the reason for the downtime.
“Econet would like to confirm that WhatsApp is currently down. We will notify you once it is working again,” Econet’s customer care department said in numerous Twitter responses to subscribers.
There was no clarification from NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe, the other mobile operators in Zimbabwe.
However, other subscribers on these networks also complained that they were struggling to access WhatsApp on the networks.
Although WhatsApp has been down in Zimbabwe since early Wednesday, Facebook and Twitter platforms were working well.
Zimbabweans took to Twitter to express outrage over the termination of WhatsApp and to share pictures of the strike online.
The protests have been organised to raise public outrage over government corruption, delayed salaries for civil servants and police roadblocks.
Civil servants have also downed tools, prompting school children to stay away from school and public hospitals to run with limited staff.
This comes on the back of protests in Beitbridge at the weekend over import restrictions.
Harare, the capital, was also rocked by protests in the public transport sector with workers in the sector blocking transport movement over police harass
Pictures of the protests and communications urging Zimbabweans to “shut down” the country have been spread over WhatsApp.
However, government officials still claim it has been business as usual despite most people staying away.
Meanwhile, leader of the opposition Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe, PDZ, Barbara Nyagomo in a message to SECURITY MONITOR stressed the need to be peaceful and non violent in the age long quest to restore good government in Zimbabwe. She added that “today you are part of history being made as We (Zimbabweans) boldy protest against our government’s corruption, looting, poor governance, draconian Laws and Human Rights Abuse.
Zimbabweans across the country and in South Africa are taking to the streets today.
Please do not be part of any violence, if you decide to be part of the march make a difference,march for your voice to be heard”
Mugabe who has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980 refused to step down despite his deteriorating health challenges occasioned by old age.