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The menace we never saw coming

by commuadmin
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Downing a The Salvador Dali mask, a typical red jumpsuit Winky D opened his live show with a theme song from Money Heist, one of the popular contemporary TV shows. A hymn of freedom, Bella Ciao!!

The work of art from Dali which came through the Zurich Dada movement has a deeper meaning, which is mostly about resistance, rejection of the modern capitalist society and replacing the old with the new.

The Italians have recently been singing Bella Ciao as a solidarity song in the fight against the ravaging Coronavirus.

Winky D headlined the Gara Mumba Part 2 show which came as sponsored entertainment during the ongoing five week lockdown in Zimbabwe.

However, if you managed to watch that show then you are one of the privileged Zimbabweans who can still stand the face of the capitalist internet service providers. For others, sorry free Zol Spots were too far from us.

Access to the internet, information and the vulnerable

Despite all calls and advocacy campaigns by local and international bodies on the importance of access to information, Econet and Netone delivered a low blow while the Zimbabwean citizens had all the focus on fighting back Covid-19, in lockdown.

A price hike during the ongoing pandemic is very unbearable for Zimbabweans.

As mentioned in every other platform, the Covid-19 did not only attack the health systems but also the economic and social setups in the society. Zimbabwe has one of the biggest informal sectors in the World and surely this business also went on lockdown with the people.

Income has greatly been diminished and citizens will find it hard to afford the newly priced data bundles. This has sparked a lot of debate and the rise of #Data Must Fall campaigns on various social media platforms. What an irony!

In its defense, telecoms regulator POTRAZ said the mobile operators are still offering a competitive pricing model in the region and were following the liberalized United States Dollar versus RTGS Dollar rate.

Deaf Zimbabwe Trust pleaded with Econet and Netone to review and be kind to the plight of their stakeholders.

“Deaf people depend on internet data for comms (communications). We can’t do voice calls. Our language is visual. 99.9% of us are unemployed. We cannot afford the high prices. Would you be kind to us?”

Some schools have already come up with online ways of delivering education so that student do not slack too much on their studies. What will happen to those students who cannot access the internet due to these high prices, a forfeit?

According to the World Economic Forum, a total of around 3,7 billion have no internet access with the majority in poorer countries where there is critical need to spread information on combatting Covid-19.

The pricing structures continue to increase the digital divide between the rich and the poor despite having the same equal rights. Restricting access to information has always proved to be fatal in any case.

At this point the government will not shutdown the internet, citizens will shut down themselves. The internet provides a lifeline during this coronavirus pandemic and creates a conduit to access the rights to information, health, education, entertainment and worship.

Until then, Oh Goodbye Beautiful.

O Bella Ciao Bella CiaoCiaoCiao, Unamattina mi son alzato, E ho trovatoI’ivasor (Oh goodbye beautiful, Goodbye beautiful, Bye! Bye! One Morning I awakened and I found the invader).

 

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