Zimbabwe’s biggest mobile phone company Econet Wireless has been ordered by the High Court to stop sending unsolicited Covid-19 SMS updates to one of its subscribers.
This comes after Harare lawyer Sikhumbuzo Moyo filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order barring Econet Wireless from sending him Covid-19 broadcasts via texts.
Moyo told the court that his disposition was to avoid depressing news, following the death of his father from the virus in January but Econet kept on sending him the “unwanted, mentally depressing messages” even after he made several requests to Econet to stop sending him the messages.
He argued that the unsolicited communication was causing him more grief and invading his constitutional rights.
High Court judge Justice David Mangota on Wednesday granted a provisional order against telecommunications giant Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and barred the company from sending Moyo COVID-19 alert messages.
In his ruling, Justice Mangota concurred with the lawyer and said Econet Wireless’s failure to stop sending unsolicited messages to Moyo violated his constitutional right to privacy and free association.
“The unilateral transmission of messages to the applicant by the respondent service provider is illegal, wrongful, and unconstitutional.
The actions of the respondent failing to stop sending unwelcome messages to the applicant after demand violates applicant’s constitutional right of free association.
“It is declared that respondent’s action in so far as continued communication was made to the applicant of traumatizing information, violated Section 53 and Section 57 of the constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No 20 of 2013,” he said.
Econet was given no later than 12 hours to suspend all Covid-19 related messages transmission to the applicant’s mobile number.