• Chad, one of the poorest Africa nations, has been cut off from the internet for almost one year.
  • Internet users in Chad are decreasing and pose a greater concern for citizens' right of expression.
  • Analyst believes was part of measures to keep President Idris Déby in office until 2033.

While some people cannot do without the internet for one minute, Chad, one of the poorest Africa nations, has been cut off from the internet for almost one year.

Since March 2018, local telecom operators have imposed internet restriction on the citizens by the order of the government.

According to estimates by Internet Sans Frontières, a similar censorship operation in 2016 cost the nation up to $20.2 million.

The tactics, analyst, believse was part of measures to keep President Idris Déby in office until 2033 following a tense political moment when a national conference by politicians and traditional chiefs recommended constitutional changes in his favour.

In a report by Internet Without Borders, access to large social media platforms in Chad is only possible through the use of VPNs for few and which serve to circumvent censorship.

As internet users are increasing across various African nation, users in Chad are decreasing and pose a greater concern for the right of expression of citizens.

internet shutdown (African Freedom of Expression Exchange)
internet shutdown (African Freedom of Expression Exchange)

In January, Internet Without Borders launched an online campaign against the Chadian government to press home demand for the restoration of internet using the hashtag #Maalla_Gatetou, meaning “why pull the plug?” in Chadian Arabic.

Abdelkerim Yacoub Koundougoumi, Head of Central African Section for Internet Without Borders, said, “Online repression and digital lockdowns clearly show that the Chadian authorities are taking an increasingly repressive approach to the internet. If nothing is done, we stand to lose the democratic progress that the internet has secured in countries all over the world, especially in Africa.”

African nations are known for frequent shut down of the internet in the wake of protest and other anti-government demonstration.

In its 2018 edition of the Digital Rights in Africa report, Paradigm Initiative highlighted how governments across Africa have transitioned from solely brutal tactics of arrests, Internet and social media app disruptions, and imprisonment to more refined, subtle and apparently “legal’’ approaches - or those that supposedly respect the “rule of law’’ - in stifling digital rights in Africa.”