Social Media and Zimbabwe Politics

The involvement and use of social media in the political battlefield have had so much influence on the nature ,impact and trends of politics in Zimbabwe.

Social Media and Zimbabwe Politics

The involvement and use of social media in the political battlefield have had so much influence on the nature, impact and trends of politics in Zimbabwe.

The Beginning

No one can really say the exact time and date when social media gained balance in the political issues of this country but it actually became widespread prior to the arrival of Facebook on the seen online. Before then political issues were not so open to be discussed. The majority of the Zimbabweans naturally felt uncomfortable to talk about it. Social media generally allows people to anonymously express themselves more freely than man to man sharing. Therefore social media and the web technology in general have acted as a sanctuary where sensitive issues can be shared, discussed and commented on.

Social media Influence on Zimbabwe Politics?

What role has the social media played in the drastic changes in politics and individual political affiliation in Zimbabwe?

Social media has altered the way political activities take place in Zimbabwe. Most political institutions, politicians, political parties as well as political think tanks are all using social media as a way of communicating with their people. Social media has led to the formation of politically affiliated social groups. Many of these groups share a common idea or belief. Followers of such groups pursue the agenda and support it by spreading the belief to others mostly via social media means. We have so many of these groups now and if you are a Zimbabwean you know them. These groups some argue that they have enabled the voices of the people to be heard while others argue that they led to political unrest in the country. Which is which then?

Well, I am not going to speak for you. But I would say social groups enabled the voices of the majority to be heard and at the same time causing an element of political unrest. How?

Freedom of expression enabled people to freely voice out how they feel about political trends and policies. When one shares how he or she feels about an idea online, it quickly spreads more than we can all imagine. Therefore, directly or indirectly the voices of the people can be heard .On the other hand it triggered so much political unrest. Imagine the political destruction when a political lie is shared online? A lot of political lies are being shared today on whatsapp, Facebook, twitter linked in etc.

To say social media is bad because of the issues that I have raised and other issues some are raising will be however incorrect. Web Technology will continue to involve and we can choose to make good use of it as Zimbabweans.

Political parties can make use of social media to carry out legitimate election campaigns instead of spending time feeding people with lies. Zimbabwe has Elections next year. Social media can be used to spread the news . Encourage people to vote. Tell the people the essence of voting. Encourage people to register.

Social media has therefore opened avenues for politicians by enabling them to engage with a wider network and connect with likeminded people. The current President of the United States, Donald Trump, admits that he used social media as well in 2016 presidential elections. "I like it because I can get also my point of view out there and my point of view is very important to a lot of people that are looking at me", Trump said.

Political parties can also get funding from their followers online, that is if they are able to generate a huge following which believes and shares their cause. In 2012 Presidential elections, Barrack Obama raised over a billion dollars from online donations.

However using social media politically also allows political critics to immediately comment and object to campaigns and shared ideas. I feel this must not allow us to ignore the beauty of social media if well used politically as well as in other areas. There is no need to block social media in Zimbabwe like in other countries.



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