WhatsApp is facing a nationwide ban in Malawi, after the instant messaging service was being used by members of the opposition to discuss a ‘coup plot’ against President Peter Mutharika.
According to sources privy to the issue, there are people within the government who are pushing for a ban of the popular site.
In a string of WhatsApp messages, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) officials conspired to pursue an Arab Spring-like revolution to overthrow president Mutharika and his government.
They claimed to have been infuriated by what they see as the president’s failure to end a stinging food crisis that has seen maize prices triple in just under a few months and inflation exceed over 20%. The kwacha has also sharply fallen.
The MCP officials are said to have agreed to take advantage of the situation to call for a rebellion that would appear to have been sparked by Malawians in diaspora.
One of the officials, Ulemu Msungama has been arrested and has been charged with sedition and according to reports he has been granted bail in the spirit of avoiding disrupting the opening of the national assembly as MCP gurus are reportedly planning to protest against his arrest.
But according to a source, government has strong intentions to ban Whatsapp.
While Malawi24 could not independently verify this, reports emerging from the government show that the Mutharika administration has had sleepless nights on the plots against Mutharika who also faced calls to resign last week. However, over the weekend he maintained he cannot resign.
Recently, Mutharika revealed his concern over people’s use of social media, saying Malawians are becoming too reliant on social media.
Commentators said the remarks are an indication that the Mutharika administration is planning to regulate social media in the country.
In December, Whatsapp got banned in Brazil after the instant messaging service allegedly failed to cooperate with an investigation into indecent images of children on the app.
A judge ruled that the popular app should be suspended, following concerns that “sexually graphic photos of children” had been circulating between some users.
The ban was lifted 12 hours later.