The administration has denied material circulating on social media as false propaganda, claiming that the Zambian government will shut down the internet from Thursday through Sunday next week.
The government said in a statement sent to the media by Amos Malupenga, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, that the information was incorrect and intended to raise concern among Zambians who value peace.
“The Government wishes to assure the people of Zambia, both at home and abroad, that it remains committed to the free flow of information, even during the election period, ” the statement read
The Government also urged what it described as law-abiding citizens to continue using the internet and other social media platforms responsibly and in conformity with the provisions of the Electoral Process Act and other laws, such as the Cyber Security and Cyber Crimes Act and the Penal Code Act, which prohibit the dissemination of falsehoods and inflammatory statements that have the potential to destabilize national peace and security.
Foreign media outlets, including South Africa’s Daily Maverick, have reported that the Zambian government has decided to totally shut off internet access beginning next Thursday, the election day.
According to the foreign media, a highly placed government source who chose to remain anonymous informed them that internet access would be throttled beginning Thursday in an effort to maintain peace and order during the voting period, and that the decision had since been communicated to ZICTA for implementation.
According to the anonymous source, the decision has been transmitted to ZICTA for implementation.
“Yes internet will go down from Thursday. There will be a total blackout. We will start to slowly restore access around Saturday in selected areas, we may get full access maybe on Sunday or Monday, depending on the situation,” the source said.