Desperate Mnangagwa Chases Away Starlink
14 April 2024
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By A Correspondent

In a surprising move, the Zimbabwean government under Emmerson Mnangagwa has taken steps to ban Starlink, SpaceX’s satellite internet service, within the country.

This decision, which was enforced by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ), has sparked concerns over the state of internet access and freedom in the nation.

Starlink’s withdrawal from Zimbabwe was announced shortly after POTRAZ issued a directive instructing the company to disable its services.

This abrupt turn of events has left Zimbabweans, particularly those relying on Starlink for reliable internet access, in a state of uncertainty.

In response to the ban, Starlink expressed its intent to engage in discussions with POTRAZ in hopes of resolving the regulatory issues.

The company stated, “We will continue to work with POTRAZ to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals to resume Starlink services in Zimbabwe as soon as possible.”

This move by the Zimbabwean authorities appears to be part of broader efforts to maintain control over information flows and internet access within the country.

Zimbabwe has a history of restrictive policies towards telecommunications, and the ban on Starlink may be seen as a measure to consolidate state control over digital communication platforms.

The decision to ban Starlink has drawn criticism from various quarters, with concerns raised about the impact on Zimbabwe’s digital infrastructure and the right to access information freely.

The move is seen by many as a setback for efforts to expand internet connectivity and bridge the digital divide in Zimbabwe.

In light of the ban, Zimbabweans who were relying on Starlink for internet services now face disruptions in their connectivity.

Starlink users received notifications advising them on how to pause their services amidst the regulatory challenges. According to Starlink, “You may pause service and billing by following instructions…”

This development raises questions about the future of internet access in Zimbabwe and underscores the importance of regulatory frameworks that balance state interests with the rights of citizens to access information and communication technologies.

The banning of Starlink serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by those seeking to expand internet access and digital freedoms in environments where state control over telecommunications remains prevalent.

As discussions between Starlink and Zimbabwean regulators continue, stakeholders will closely monitor the outcome, hoping for a resolution that prioritizes the interests of Zimbabwean citizens and the broader goals of expanding connectivity in the country.