By Magaret Chogugudza
The youth in Chitungwiza has fiercely criticized the decision by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to increase data and voice call service charges arguing that such unprecedented move will affect their day to day lives.
Speaking to Chitownews during an interview a cross section of youth in Chitungwiza expressed their strong resentments towards the increase in data tariffs.
“The increase in data tariff are unbelievable and unjustified. Most ordinary people cannot afford these prices considering the harsh economic conditions prevailing in the country,” said Abel Mamhunze from Seke.
“Access to internet is enabler of economic growth and development. It enhances ease of doing business and create virtual markets that link producers and consumers in real life,” said Admire Mutize (36) of Zengeza 3.
“Such decision will affect the country’s economic growth and take the nation backwards”, continued Mutize.
Other youth interviewed by Chitownews articulates that the increase in data tariffs will affect their social life and also reduce their chances of gaining access to very important information such as job advertisement and educational information.
“We use internet for social communication with friends on WhatsApp and Facebook and this will be greatly affected by the increase in data tariffs therefore, we condemn such a decision,” said Clive Mapuranga (20) of Manyame Park.
“Mobile internet has become a part of our lives which we rely on in our day to day lives as we get important information on our mobile phones which includes job advertisements” continued Mapuranga.
“The increase in data tariffs will also affects us as students since we do not only rely hard copy books but also on internet when studying and doing our school work and the increase in data tariffs will do us a great harm” said Aisha Mafungo (19) a student at local college in Chitungwiza.
In a Chitungwiza WhatsApp group discussion other youth condemn POTRAZ arguing that it is an act to further the interests of the ruling party in the upcoming 2018 elections by increasing the costs of social media videos and audios which has been used as a tool of campaigning and mobilization by the activists and opposition parties lately.
“The regime knows that the 2018 elections field is internet and they want to close out the majority so that they do not participate or spectate”, said Edwin Pasango.
“The government wants to deny citizens access to the internet because it feels threatened by its emergence as a medium for political mobilization and cyber activism, disregarding its academic social and economic benefit” said Mutize.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the country’s largest mobile network operator has been the first to effect these charges proposed by POTRAZ. It has adjusted its product lineup and unveiled a set of new traffic for its bundles as well as the WhatsApp and Facebook bundles and the costs are high.