OPPOSITION political parties have called on the military to stop reacting to phantom social media characters and instead concentrate on real issues such as corruption and theft of national resources.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Jacob Mafume, in a sharp response to Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio Sibanda’s threats that the army would crush social media protests, said the military was being petty.
“Now the army commander is worried about Facebook postings, but is not worried about the people who stole $15 billion. What are the security forces there for if they cannot secure the country’s wealth but chase after phantom Facebook characters?” Mafume queried.
He said the army generals were silent when First Lady Grace Mugabe attacked them at a rally accusing them of wanting to kill her son Chatunga, but would want the nation to believe they have “cyber guns to fire at cyber enemies”.
“The First Lady, whose family they are protecting, stated at a rally that they wanted to harm her family and accused them of incompetence. They did not respond to that and have pretended as if those words were never uttered. Unless this warning was directed to the First Lady, then it is not only meaningless, but ridiculous,” Mafume said.
MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said the statement by Sibanda was “laughable” and bordered on threatening people’s constitutional rights to protest against government.
“The threat to peace in our country is not from the people who are expressing their views constitutionally on various platforms, but rather from those who are looting State coffers dry, the corrupt ministers and those failing to pay salaries. This is what the army should be worried about,” Chihwayi said.
Zimbabweans have taken to social media to vent their anger against the introduction of bond notes, corruption, poverty and an economic meltdown.
Sibanda said the army was ready to deal with cyber warfare because it had officers in its rank and file trained for that war.
“As an army, at our institutions of training we are training our officers to be able to deal with this new threat we call cyber warfare where weapons — not necessarily guns, but basically information and communication technology — are being used to mobilise people to do the wrong things,” Sibanda said.