19 May 2019

Malawi: Macra Plans to Shutdown Phones, Whatsapp on Elections Days

Photo: Daily News
(file photo).

Beleaguered Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director General Godfrey Itaye on Saturday called for a meeting to discuss plans to shutdown phone communication as well as social media platforms like WhatsApp.

Nyasa Times can reveal that Itaye and his directors will use the provision of the law in the Electronic Transactions and Cyber Security Act to force mobile phone companies to shutdown social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and even phone calls.

Itaye is said to have received the instructions from the leadership of ruling party to make sure that WhatsApp is down so that innocent citizens are in the dark about the progress of the elections.

Insiders at MACRA said the meeting takes place in Blantyre at 5:30 Saturday.

"It is true that the DG called for a meeting at 5.30pm," said one Director who refused to be named.

Itaye sent about 75 junior employees to a retreat at Hapuwani Lodge in Mulanje for three days starting from Friday up to Sunday.

Insiders said Macra wants to the shutdown the public so that they do not have information of what is going on the elections day.

Itaye denied his organization has no plans to shut down the internet on Election Day.

"MACRA has never done that and its only security agencies that can do using the cyber law that exists," Itaye said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shut down its internet but after the vote last year in December last year. Egypt is another country that jammed the phones and internet to impact an election.

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