MDC moves to gag supporters

HARARE - The opposition MDC has read the riot act to party structures amid allegations that the rank-and-file was pursuing a “corrosive post-congress agenda” through a social media campaign.

In a move that critics sledged as an attempt to muzzle free expression in the opposition party, MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora has written to the party’s Chitungwiza provincial executive threatening disciplinary action if the practice was not immediately stopped.

In the January 16 letter addressed to the provincial chairman Voice Chinake, Mwonzora accused the executive of using social media to propagate hate speech against the party leadership, fanning factionalism and disrespecting MDC rules and procedures in the process.

“The leadership is also aware that some people in your provincial leadership are trying to discredit the outcome of our 31st October congress for reasons best known to them,” Mwonzora’s letter says.

The secretary-general said: “Equally shocking is the realisation that the leadership orientation and induction programme organised by the president towards the end of last year which emphasised the need to unite our people, stabilise the party and focus on winning elections may have been a waste of resources.

“I need to state that the president was very serious in what he discussed with you at this orientation workshop.

“By copy of this letter, you are urgently advised to take the necessary steps and show leadership without which the party will be left with no option except to invoke the relevant disciplinary actions dealing with the same.”

Mwonzora told the leadership that there would be no other congress in 2016 “as some of you are saying to the people” adding that the next party congress was due in 2019.

The developments come hard on the heels of a series of meetings that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai held with party structures last month in which he warned them against airing their grievances via social media.

This, Tsvangirai said, gave ammunition to their Zanu PF rivals to rubbish the party.

A provincial executive member expressed sadness that his party was fast descending into a dictatorship as members were no longer allowed free speech.

But MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu defended the social media gag, saying while his party believed in free speech, there was need for its cadres to be disciplined.

“The cyber space is so huge that it is like exploring the universe,” Gutu said.

“We may not be able to follow everyone but the moment we realise that any of our members is abusing it to the detriment of the party, we will take action.

“We loathe all forms of dictatorship as a party but does not give our supporters room to act like loose cannons and misguided missiles.”

Comments (7)

If people like you and you represent their aspiration, they won't be negative about you. GET AWAY GUTU.

selele - 5 February 2015

ini party yangu iyi ndakuisiya ini. ndaneta hangu. manje ndingavhotera ani veduwe. i will never vote again

wind - 5 February 2015

There's no political party in the world that will allow top ranking members to share party politics on social media. There are always proper channels for all these things. Let's not show our ignorance to the whole world please!!

Mwamba - 5 February 2015

No political party that can survive when its members behave like baboons and monkeys . Spot on Mwonzora if anyone wants drama and monkey tricks you know where to find it just across town at zanu pf or Mangoma and company political party . Gossiping is not for serious minded people let alone you can not say your democratic rights have been violeted bcoz you have been told to refrain from gossiping and spreading lies .

Diibulaanyika - 5 February 2015

@Mwamba ...@Diibulaanyika Ah! you people live in your own world! We are in 2015 where opinon, let alone gossip has soo much power that you just have to take it seriously! Please just copy from thebrilliant job done by Jonso Moyo to defend The Fall after it went viral. CIO tried to have all photos erased but it did not work! Frustrated party members, no matter what position they have in the party, will go to "facebook" disguised...LIVE WITH IT and lerarn to manage it!

selele - 6 February 2015

@ Selele one way of managing it is to discourage it . If the same people you are supporting do not tell the world or show us their pictures bonking their partners bcoz they know its bad then they can do the same by refraining from gossiping and talking shiite about the party simple as that and they will loose nothing ,You can have those people at your zanu Selele if you want take them.

Diibulaanyika - 6 February 2015

Douglas Mwonzora should not over estimate his powers and influence. His desire to create a political fiefdom should be cut in the bud. The conceited effort to impose among others a CIO operative as an NEC member as a represantative of the South Africa Province should be foiled by all democrats. Khaliphani Phugeni joined the MDC T about a year ago and he funded the Mwonzora campaign and now he is being catapulted into the NEC without due process as a reward by Mwonzora Khupe and Bhebhe. Now the bid to ban Whatapp has reached alarming levels all pushed by the intelligence operative Phugeni who is positioned to destroy the people's project from within. With pride, Phugeni goes around boasting that he buys expensive alcohol for Tsvangirai therefore he will always have the last say.

Wilson Ndlovu - 7 February 2015

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