Politicians take to social media

It is now a reality that Zimbabwe is headed for elections, and the techno-savvy among the country’s politicians have taken to social media as they explore new campaign strategies primarily targeted at young people who constitute the bulk of potential voters.

REPORT BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI

The country’s youths spend lots of time on the internet and social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blogger among others and these have become a target area for vote-hungry politicians.

Bulawayo East legislator David Coltart (MDC), who is very active on social media, recently opened a Facebook page titled David Coltart Campaign 2013 which provides information on the forthcoming elections, voter registration centres and his re-election campaign. By yesterday, the page had secured 479 likes.
Jessie Fungayi Majome

(MDC-T), Harare west legislator, runs a very active Facebook page, which goes by her name, through which she constantly interacts with residents in her constituency.

Through the site, residents in the constituency are able to track their parliamentary representative.
Majome also uses the Facebook page to facilitate effective representation of her constituency.

“Dear Harare Westerners. The awful Bloomingdale and Ashdown Park electricity blackout is back again for three days! In this cold weather! Thanks Chinhoyi Resident for alerting me.

“I’ll follow up with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority to see what is being done. Just when we have processed the Electricity Amendment Bill in Parliament to streamline by unbundling the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company, thereby separating electricity transmission and commercial supply of it .

“That should result in greater efficiency, meanwhile, let’s follow up these faults,” she wrote.
Following her successful nomination to represent the party again in Harare West, Majome took to Twitter on June 28.

Youth Development Minister and MP for Mt Darwin South, Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF) is also another techno-savvy, youthful legislator who commands a 2 498 and 6 635—strong following on Facebook and Twitter respectively.
Kasukuwere has recently been using his Twitter account to campaign for President Robert Mugabe.
One of his most recent posts was an open invitation for people to come and attend the launch of Zanu PF election campaign and manifesto.

Former MP for Hatfield Tapiwa Mashakada is also active on Facebook and Twitter. But his use of the social media platforms has been confined to his ministry’s work and the same goes for Elton Mangoma (Makoni North), Tendai Biti (Harare East) — who has 10 000 likes on Facebook, Nelson Chamisa (Kuwadzana) and Eric Matinenga (Buhera).

Biti has also used the platforms to beef up Tsvangirai’s political fortunes.

In one instance, he wrote on Facebook: “I spent hours with the PM yesterday in two very challenging meetings, but his patience, kindness, fairness and ability to hear and be heard never ceases to amaze me.

“I think that humility is the greatest quality of leadership and this man has it in surplus. This is the kind of leader that Zimbabwe has never had, maybe during the rein of Garfield Todd.”

Zanu PF’s legislators have also been part of the bandwagon, notably its young turks such as Walter Mzembi (Masvingo South) and Supa Mandiwanzira (aspiring for Nyanga South).

Psychology Maziwisa, the Zanu PF deputy information director, commands 8 379 Facebook likes.

Maziwisa has occasionally used the platform to throw potshots at the MDC-T.

Multimedia expert John Mokwetsi said apart from its ability to lure the youth vote, politicians have realised the potential of social networking sites in reaching a wider audience.

“Due to the short notice of the election date, politicians have realised that social networks can give them the reach they need.

“The country has a mobile penetration rate of 97% and uptake of the Internet has risen significantly,” he said.

He cited cases of the shadowy character, Baba Jukwa, whose following on social networks has risen sharply within a very short space of time.

17 Responses to Politicians take to social media

  1. mosler July 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    my mom has been in SA for a long time and im surprised after checking on myzimvote that she is a registered voter.she is not even aware who registered her.so who is going to vote on her behalf?

    • morsi July 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

      does she neva voted in da previous years bcoz from that website ther are names from waybek as 2002 so long u cast yo vote during that tym

      • musawenkosi July 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

        correct if voted in the past record still there and nothing wrong there.

  2. scott July 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    “This is the kind of leader that Zimbabwe has never had, maybe during the rein of Garfield Todd.”

    What kind of nonsense is that, Garfield Todd was no leader of no Zimbabwe, Mr. Biti! And you lot want to vote for these idiots who can’t tell the difference between rhodesia and Zimbabwe?

    • Jonas Savimbi July 6, 2013 at 8:30 pm #

      Hey come on, he was president of Zimbabwe staying in the same State Hoise some other Last Lady is giving short time to soldiers.

    • ras G. Mugabe July 6, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

      @scott, Yes Biti is correct. You may be forgiven for your ignorance because we do not all get equal education opportunities, granted; but your sending these comments here means you have access to internet so why don’t you do a bit of 2minute research on google if you don’t know, before you argue with those who do- Zim did not start existing in 1980 babamwana…….

    • Fei July 7, 2013 at 5:34 am #

      Taura hako what kind of mentality utters such words??

  3. Maunzagona July 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    Zimbabwe lacks humble leaders. Biti is right. Pride led to 2008 violence.

  4. tara maremo July 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    @musawenkosi voters roll was supposed to be a new roll. An overhaul. Thats why ple are registering anew. No need to have names of all diaspora ple who voted in the past

  5. Shinzoh July 6, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    “It is now a reality that Zimbabwe is headed for elections” Phillip, what an opening line, look here, the day THE PRESIDENT and Commander -in-chief proclaimed that day at law. That’s how real it was, just that your head has been buried in the sand such that you have failed /refused to recognise authority, wauno funga ano tonga, haasi and will never, period.

    • gushungo July 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

      haisi nyaya baba,tosangana muzimbabwe itsva

  6. gushungo July 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    bhora musango takakumirirai chete

  7. ras G. Mugabe July 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    @Tara maremo you’re wrong . The voters roll does not get renewed but it is updated ie Recently matured citizens(& aliens who were not allowed to vote before) registering to vote for the first time being added to the already existing voters on the roll . Deceased voters being deleted from the voters roll. Previously registered voters do not need to go & register again .

  8. MDC CHIKOPOKOPO July 7, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    ASIJIK .. NO TURNING BACK. BHORA MUSANGO

  9. bhaka July 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    people who are saying Bob will handover power to someone younger soon after the elections if he wins are misguided.infact no such plan exists in Bob ‘s mind his plan is to die on the throne.

  10. Babadu Headmusoro July 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm #

    Tapinda Tapinda mudariro

  11. Babadu Headmusoro July 7, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    I have never registered nor voted , left Zim some 20 yrs plus but to my surprise my name is on the voter’s roll kwaZvimba . I don’t even know the place but I will go there and vote whatever it takes.

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