MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday backtracked on his earlier directive barring party members from debating political issues on social media platforms after the order was widely condemned as undemocratic.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
Party spokesperson Obert Gutu in a statement, said the directive was not meant to stifle debate, but guide MDC-T activists on how they should behave on social media platforms.
“We would like to put the record straight that president Morgan Tsvangirai has not banned party members from using social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc.
“President Morgan Tsvangirai is a champion of democracy and free speech and indeed his track record as the country’s most popular politician speaks for itself,” Gutu said.
“Party members are free to use social media in accordance with the guidelines and standards that are being set up by the party leadership.
“Social media platforms should not be abused to promote hatred, division, gossiping and rumour-mongering. These guidelines are being made available to all party members who would like to use social media platforms to communicate amongst themselves.”
Tsvangirai last week adopted a hardline stance after he felt that the social media was being used to denigrate party leaders.
The developments came against the backdrop of a highly contested standing committee poll that saw party stalwarts like
former national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and deputy secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada falling by the wayside at the party’s congress late last year.
Tsvangirai in the spirit of unifying his party reacted by appointing Chamisa to the national executive committee, but there was no room for Mashakada.
The ex-Premier has in the past month met provincial party
structures in Harare and Chitungwiza and chastised them for using
social media to fan factionalism and call for fresh elections at an extraordinary congress next year.