Cyber-activists aligned with Wikileaks this week shut down websites of the Zimbabwean government to protest a lawsuit by Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe, against the Standard newspaper for carrying a leaked US diplomatic cable saying she was involved in illegal trading of diamonds from the eastern Marange field.
The Zimbabwean first lady is seeking US$15 million in damages.
The activists of the shadowy organization Anonymous declared in a statement on their website that, “We are targeting Mugabe and his regime in ZANU-PF who have outlawed the free press and threaten to sue anyone publishing Wikileaks."
Anonymous has previously blocked web portals of American-based Visa and MasterCard after they stopped handling payments to Wikileaks.
Zimbabwe's main government website www.gta.gov.zw was offline Thursday and Friday. So was the Treasury site. The website of President Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was up but loading unusually slowly on Friday
Information Minister Webster Shamu refused to comment. Top ZANU-PF official Didymus Mutasa, a minister of state attached to Mr. Mugabe's office, also refused to talk. "I have saidagain and again that I don't want [to do] interviews with imperialists at all," he said.
Political commentator Effie Dlela Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo he approved the cyber-activists’ hacking of the Zimbabwean government sites.
"I respect personally privacy," Ncube said, "but when hackers target a terrorist government such as we have in Zimbabwe, I support that."