MISA Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ urgent court application date, challenging the use of the Interception of Communications Act to wholly suspend communications will be heard on Monday 21 January 2019 at 14.30 before Justice Owen Tagu.
The hearing will be in chambers and will not be open to members of the public. Respondents in the matter have been given until the end of business on Friday 18 January 2019 to file their opposing papers. Zimbabwe has experienced an Internet shutdown that has lasted from the early hours of Tuesday 15 January 2019. The government in terms of the Interception of Communications Act initiated this prolonged shutdown. MISA Zimbabwe submits that this is an abuse of the law that was passed in 2007 in preparation for the contested 2008 elections. In the application, MISA Zimbabwe and the ZLHR are seeking an order revoking the warrant of interception that was issued and used to justify this four-day Internet shutdown.
The joint applicants also request that the court ensure that a copy of the warrant of interception is released to members of the public and that finally, the court orders State actors not to shut down the Internet anytime in the future. In addition to the court application, MISA Zimbabwe has also written letters to the Minister of State in the President’s office for State Security as well as to Econet Wireless about the prolonged Internet shutdown.