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In April 2016, President Robert Mugabe also stated that the country would emulate China’s ‘Great Firewall’ in order to regulate internet access.

The 2016 Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill is likely to be used as a tool to penalise criticisms of the regime made over the internet and the 2007 Interception of Communications Act allows service providers to intercept communications on the state’s behalf.

Zimbabwean internet users have faced a number of internet crackdowns recently. In July 2016, the internet was shut down amidst social unrest and there were also reports that the government may have ordered WhatsApp to be blocked.

The internet penetration rate in Zimbabwe rose to 46.5% in 2016, up from 11.5% in 2011. With 98% of internet connections made via mobile devices, and mobile penetration at over 94%, it is likely that there will be further rapid increases in penetration rates.

Earlier Event: May 1