THE ruling Zanu PF party has embraced bulk messaging as part of its cocktail of campaign platforms to reach out to the electorate ahead of this year’s general elections.
BY TATENDA CHITAGU
After recently launching the #EDhasmyvote campaign, the ruling party opened a Twitter handle and Facebook page for its presidential candidate, Emmerson Mnangagwa, with the bulk messaging platform targeting rural supporters who would be provided with handsets incompatible with social networking site, WhatsApp.
Bulk messaging and WhatsApp have proved effective tools to win the hearts and minds of the rural electorate, according to the parliamentary candidate for Chivi South, Killer Zivhu, who beat the incumbent legislator, Mafios Wutete in the party primaries held recently.
And Zivhu, outgoing chairman of Chivi Rural District Council (RDC), says he sold the idea to the Zanu PF commissariat and hoped the party will adopt it for campaigning countrywide.
Speaking at a farewell for longest serving Chivi councillor, Alderman Tafirei Mhosva last week, Zivhu said: “It is no longer a matter of how much you spend on the electorate. Take the electorate seriously, because money is not enough. You can spend money and slaughter a beast, splash goodies yet you can still lose. That does not translate to votes. People just come for the food and regalia and you will be shocked when the results come, like what happened to many during the primaries.
“Now, it is about reaching out to the people, interfacing with them, talking to them and convincing them in small manageable groups. You do that through social media, creating WhatsApp groups for all the people in the constituency. For those not using WhatsApp, you turn to bulk messaging.
“This is what made me win in these primary polls. I thought of this strategy late after realising I was shooting in the dark despite being on the ground and donating a lot. Bulk messaging worked for me. This is the method we want to use. This method works. It’s effective and cheap. I appealed to many people and you also talk to them and answer questions if it’s WhatsApp, unlike at a rally where you may not have the chance to get people’s thoughts. Those who do not know how to do group messaging, we will teach you.
“This is no time for complacency. Start convincing your relatives, family and friends, don’t force them,” he said.
Mnangagwa is expected to slug it out against a record 120 other presidential aspirants, although the Zanu PF leader and his MDC Alliance counterpart have been touted as the front runners.