Wednesday, February 8, 2023

‘Political violence gone digital’

Tinaani Nyabereka

Gweru- Political parties in Midlands province have been urged to safeguard people against cyber bullying as violence has gone digital.
The call was made by Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe during an inter-parties engagement meeting hosted by the 4-H Zimbabwe organisation in Gweru.
Selipiwe said it was saddening to note how social media has been weaponized to tarnish the image of other political players.
“Let me start by saying youths have access to power because they are the ones who also take part in choosing their leaders. If they take that same power, they can just use it to be in leadership positions I am sure.
“Violence has gone digital, young people have resorted to the use of Twitter Spaces , Facebook and Whatsapp to speak issues which divide people, the nation and some of the messages have been generated by the political and social media influencers.
“We need to be on guard against the use of social media to instigate violence. Look at how pictures of our country’s leadership our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa), Nelson Chamisa’s faces are cartooned, look how Mwonzora’s pictures are edited. We need to guard against that and cultivate the spirit of tolerance among young people,” he added.
Zanu PF Midlands Youth Chairperson Ernest Dzoro said as all political leaders were preaching peace there was need for young people to act accordingly.
“I am happy our political leaders are at the fore front of preaching peace, my own President Emmerson Mnangagwa is among the leaders doing so. Let’s also act accordingly and do as our leaders say.
“Violence is down here at the grass roots, as leaders we don’t fight because above everything we have learnt that we are Zimbabweans. Why then do you (the youths) indulge in violence while your leaders are united? It’s time we change our behaviour together as youths,” he said.
MDC-T Midlands Youth Leader Albert Chadoka said there was need for party leaders to safe guard cyber platforms against weaponization for wrong reasons.
“Indeed the issue of inclusivity on Persons with Disabilities is key at our MDC-T political party. We greatly consider that, now that we have also heard the concerns as political parties, we have agreed to go back and push so that your safety is guaranteed as you venture into political party activities.
“Also let me put our national leaders to task. Our parties must look at the issues of social media with urgency, we don’t want a scenario where cyber bullying ruins our society. We are a people together despite belonging to different political parties. We now have a law which governs use of digital spaces and we appeal that it be used to protect ordinary innocent citizens against digital violence,” Chadoka said.
The engagement was attended by youth leaders from eight political parties including Zanu PF, Labour Economists and African Democrats (LEAD), Zimbabwe Economic Freedom Fighters (ZEFF), Front for Economic Emancipation Zimbabwe (FEEZ), National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), MDC-T and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

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