Nduduzo Tshuma –
The past weeks have witnessed efforts by known opposition elements and their sponsored phantom characters taking part in the “Unfollow ED” campaign on microblogging site Twitter to create a false impression that President Mnangagwa was losing popularity.
The idea behind the unfollow movement is, in the heads of the opposition elements, meant to convince Zimbabweans that the President is being abandoned by voters.
Beyond the Twitter “action” by the opposition elements, lies an elaborate plot to use the activity as a spring board of sorts for planned illegal demonstrations on July 31 by the same characters who want to bring chaos in a vain attempt to effect regime change.
The plot involves the MDC Alliance and includes its known proxies who include members of the G40 cabal expelled from the ruling party in 2017 and are holed up in different countries as fugitives from justice as they are supposed to face prosecution for various cases of criminal conduct.
So cunning is the plot that one person was arrested in Harare after he was found printing fake Zanu-PF and Central intelligence organisation cards to be used on the day of the planned demos in their usual strategy to soil the image of the security sector.
Political analyst Mr Richard Mahomva said the Twitter movement exposes the opposition for their failure to mobilise voters.
“The UnfollowED Mnangagwa charade assumes that power resides on Twitter. This organised cyber hate targeting President Mnangagwa and the institutional values he represents, reflects the magnitude of a threat he poses to regime change ideas.
“This demonstrates that the reforms of integration and cohesion he has effected now transcend the polarised borders of our split patriotic consciousness which have been a pillar for failed peace and reconciliation in Zimbabwe over the years,” said Mr Mahomva.
“The anti-Mnangagwa vitriol only exposes bankruptcy in organic voter mobilisation by an already disfigured neo-imperial regime change movement in Zimbabwe. Therefore, Twitter becomes the battleground for failed real-politik.”
Zanu-PF youth league deputy secretary for administration Cde Mabutho Moyo said the opposition will always come second to the ruling party in terms of real mobilisation.
“Well this is a desperate campaign by known opposition elements using ghost Twitter handles. In any case Zimbabwe is much more serious a question to be addressed through Twitter activity and this is why national elections are not conducted on Twitter. It’s too elitist a platform as it speaks to less than 10 percent of the Zimbabwean population,” said Cde Moyo.
“Real people who matter are on the ground, the grassroots in Masendu, Gokwe-Nembudziya, in Cowdray Park etc, not these faceless handles with sponsored data and no purpose. It’s a campaign in futility, the opposition is stuck in election mode, but come elections they are losing left, right and centre, again, I repeat, Zimbabwe is more serious than Twitter. It’s just a platform where we go to play, real organising is done physically on the ground.”
On Tuesday, at a party policy meeting in Harare, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Dr Obert Mpofu said they are aware of efforts to unleash violence in the country.
“Our party detractors continue with their anti-establishment agendas and the party is aware of the planned mass protests which are being organised by the MDC Alliance renegades, Tajamuka, the Front for Economic Emancipation of Zimbabwe being led by expelled party youth commissar Godfrey Tsenengamu and other media protagonists.
“Our security departments should constantly alert us on this clear and present danger of the activities of this unholy alliance . . . Our security departments’ role in jealously guarding the integrity and the reputation of the party is critical,” said Dr Mpofu.
“It is disconcerting that an individual was arrested in Kuwadzana printing our Zanu-PF and Central Intelligence Organisation cards. The level and sophistication of such an act points to the fact that there are leakages and gross breaches of our internal party systems which would be thoroughly investigated. The court proceedings against the defendant should be followed so as to elicit the circumstances surrounding such a criminal intent and a threat to the security of the party.”
A social media analyst who spoke on condition of anonymity said over time the opposition elements have been following the President on Twitter and barraging him will all sorts of attacks in a failed effort.
“The move to set up social media accounts was a noble one so that the President could interact and gather views from Zimbabweans across the world. However, there are some people who followed him for the purposes of unconstructive engagement and spewing hate language against the country and President but those people were always in the minority,” said the analyst.
“It is the same people now purporting to be guided by ‘principle’ in unfollowing President Mnangagwa yet the world knows that they were never in support of him or after any fruitful engagement with the Head of State but in actual fact were opposition elements, either in their real accounts or using phantom characters. The whole thing is choreographed.”