MDC lifts social media ban

HARARE - Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC has lifted a social media ban imposed to disrupt the communications of party dissidents recklessly attacking the opposition party’s leadership.

Insiders said that the pro-democracy MDC had come under pressure from critics to end the ban, which was seen as a move aimed at curtailing free speech.

Douglas Mwonzora, the MDC secretary-general, accused the party’s rank-and-file of using social media to propagate hate speech against the party leadership, fanning factionalism and disrespecting MDC rules and procedures in the process.

Mwonzora’s decree flew in the face of the MDC’s founding values of democracy, tolerance and freedom of speech.

A group of disaffected MDC supporters, whose candidates lost at the MDC elective congress, is said to be the driving force behind the rebellion and has used social media to publicise its agenda for a fresh congress.

The revolt, which began just after the congress, prompted Mwonzora to write a strongly-worded letter to the district leadership accusing them of trying to discredit the outcome of the  October 31 congress “for reasons best known” to them.

The developments came 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.

These included WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter.

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

Critics had expressed sadness that the social democratic party was fast descending into a dictatorship as members were no longer allowed free speech.

The ban was lifted this week, according to party sources who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Obert Gutu, MDC spokesperson, said in a statement Tsvangirai was a champion of democracy.

“We would like to put the record straight that (MDC) president Morgan Tsvangirai has not banned party members from using social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter,” Gutu said.

“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.

“MDC members are a disciplined group of cadres who very much appreciate the need to use social media platforms for the purpose of maintaining and promoting party discipline, unity and cohesion. The insinuation that party members are no longer allowed to use social media is thus palpably false, misleading, preposterous and malicious.”

Gutu, however, said MDC supporters should use social media in accordance with guidelines set by the party leadership.

“Party members are free to use social media in accordance with the guidelines and standards that are being set up by the party leadership,” he said.

“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. Should there be any doubt as to what these guidelines are, my office is more than willing and able to assist any party members who are keen to activate their social media platforms.”

Gutu said throughout his political activism,

Tsvangirai has personally championed the cause for the opening up of both the public and private media space to enable all Zimbabweans to freely articulate and propagate their political and other views.

He, however, said as a voluntary association, the MDC is bound by certain rules and regulations.

“Indeed, all voluntary associations the world over, including churches and business associations; have to abide by a certain code of conduct in order to achieve stability, unity and cohesion,” he said.

“MDC members are a disciplined group of cadres who very much appreciate the need to use social media platforms for the purpose of maintaining and promoting party discipline, unity and cohesion.”

Comments (7)

our leader is now confused. is it dimensia? but dimensia comes with age. so wats happening Mr Tsvangirai, our president. Today yu are saying this and tommorrow yu r crushing yourself

wind - 10 February 2015

i don think there something wrong coz even in our churchs all members who want to create a group on social media under the name of the church must first seek permission from the authority

SAVE - 10 February 2015

Its a sign of maturity and democracy in the party when the wishes of the cadres are heeded

chamboko - 11 February 2015

Wind is the one suffering from dimensia and not MT

Garikayi - 11 February 2015

Tsvangirai must now take a fresh and hard look at his current crop of advisors.In my opinion, they are a useless bunch despite their purported knowledge and closeness to him because they always seem to specialize in making their leader a public fool.If the advisors were wise, they would have advised Tsvangirai not to issue such an unfortunate order in the first place.

Hey - 11 February 2015

Mr Hey,there is nothing wrong about making an error when you have the courage to accept and mend it.This really makes people rejuvenated in their collective efforts,harness them and further sharpen their machinery for greater gains.Contrary,to the fools who refuse to accept logics and believe they are invincible and indispensable like the Zanu pf team currently in command.They have left MDC T as the only party and would stand unopposed in 2018 if Zanu PF continues to defy democratic principles and victimize its cadres

carson macate - 11 February 2015

Hey yu are very correct., the issue of an advisor its true. MT doesnt have any one who is clever since he started MDC

wind - 12 February 2015

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.