Zim shut down: what you need to know
16 Jan 2019 - by
Update: As of Thursday, January 17, internet services in Zimbabwe have been restored, although social media platforms remain blocked.
The situation in Zimbabwe remains tense following government’s announcement of a sharp fuel price increase, and subsequent protests across the country. However, despite the violent protests that took place over the weekend, key border posts and the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport remain open and functioning.
Locals report that airports seem unaffected, with flights taking off and landing as usual. On Monday, January 14, Fastjet Zimbabwe had advised that, for the day, flights to and from Harare would be cancelled due to the unrest affecting travel on the streets of Harare.
The following day (January 15) all flights connecting Harare, Johannesburg and Bulawayo were once again operating as scheduled. “The safety of our customers and staff remain a top priority, and we will continue to carefully monitor any potential disruption as a result of any unrest that may occur in the Harare area,” said the carrier in a statement.
Gavin Kelly, acting CEO of the Road Freight Association in South Africa, confirmed this morning (Wednesday, January 16) that the border post at Beit Bridge is open and functioning. Kelly recommends that road travellers proceed with caution.
Zimbabwe-based travel experts have said that, despite the unrest in some parts, things have stabilised somewhat. Shops and businesses remain closed in large metropolitan areas, and roads are quiet.
On Saturday January 12, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that petrol and diesel prices would more than double in an effort to tackle the shortfall caused by an increase in fuel shortage and illegal trading. He said that a litre of petrol would now cost $3, 31 (R45). The country was rocked by subsequent violent protests, with three people being confirmed dead.
On January 14, in an effort to control the situation, the government announced it would shut down access to social media platforms. This was initially limited to WhatsApp and Facebook, followed by Twitter hours later. Soon after, the government made the decision to shut down internet connectivity completely.