The High Court in Zimbabwe has just ruled that the State Security Minister had no authority to order an internet shutdown.
The government shut down the web on two occasions during the past six days and access to sites, like Facebook and Twitter remains blocked.
Zimbabwe is in the grips of a crisis after a deadly crackdown last week that human rights groups say claimed the lives of at least 12 people.
Angry citizens took to the streets to protest the staggering 150% fuel price hike announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this month.
It’s understood that the internet blockade caused huge financial losses, disrupted health services and damaged the country’s reputation as being open for business.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba says the internet was used to coordinate violent protests and shutting it down was for the national good.
This is seen as a landmark court hearing as rights lawyers say Zimbabweans’ constitutional right to information has been violated.
MISA Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights challenged the internet and social media blockade at the high court following last week’s orders by government.
Said MISA after the ruling:
The court has ruled that Minister of State does not have the authority to issue any directives. This means that the directives to shutdown the Internet are now reversed! The court did not rule on the constitutionality of the Interception of Communications Act today.
MISA was represented by Advocate Matinenga.