UPND secretary general Stephen Katuka says the Internet blackout which occurred in Southern Province last week raises suspicions on how all the three mobile service providers can instantly shut down services at the same time.

And UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa says his party MPs will put a written question to Transport and Communications Minister Mutotwe Kafwaya in Parliament to explain the Internet blackout.

In an interview, Katuka expressed concern at how all three mobile service providers could simultaneously shut down their data services.

He charged that government had always been biased in the provision of services to the region.

Katuka’s remarks come in the wake of revelations by ZICTA consumer protection manager Edgar Mulawuzi that there was an Internet service blackout in the entire Southern Province last Thursday.

“Why did it happen in one province? Why in Southern and not other provinces? And you know that there is always some bias in Southern Province, which is abetting this tribalism thing. It sounds abnormal in that all the three mobile service providers can have the same problem at the same time! We are in a very difficult period because everything that happens has a silver lining around it and it creates a lot of suspicions. It is not healthy for things to happen like this in this era where there is already so much debate in the country. It is causing people to think that it’s deliberate,” Katuka complained.

And Mweetwa said that the party will submit a written question to Parliament this week to compel the Kafwaya to explain the internet blackout.

According to Mulawuzi, the Internet blackout was caused by a technical fault.

“It’s a network outage. Yes, we received some reports from the service providers. Right now, the service providers are working to rectify the technical fault, which they have identified. They have not told us what the fault is but what we know is that it’s affecting data services because voice they have. And when you look at the consumer protection guidelines, service providers are supposed to notify the authority about any network outages. Then Section 19.4 of our Consumer Protection guidelines say that, ‘service providers are supposed to respond to us and to tell us once the technical fault or outage has been resolved’,” Mulawuzi told News Diggers! in an interview last week.