Post: internet down, government orders

I’ve arrived in Bukavu a few days after last week’s protests in Kinshasa and other cities. The people were registering their disagreement with the possibility that President Kabila would stand for a third term, which is contrary to the constitution. There are excellent newspaper reports herehere and here and a blog post here.

The tensions resulted in the authorities ordering that all internet services should be taken down for a couple of days. Obviously there are questions about the morality and long-term viability of this approach. For Innocent at Liaison Congo there is also the very practical issue that he cannot open up for business.

The orders came a few days after he opened Liaison Congo café-2 and set back his efforts to market the café to the local community. He will of course recover and this week there are already signs that it was just a temporary problem.

Still, it was a drastic reaction to the protests - a reaction that continues this week in that both SMS and mobile internet services are still down. People depend on SMS for communication because they cannot afford phone calls. Many small businesses are affected and the negative impacts are likely to add to the many grievances the people have with their government.