GOVERNMENT is unhappy with continued “abuse” of the social media and will soon craft laws to monitor those who use it to scold leaders and destabilise the country, says Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander, Constantino Chiwenga.
The ZNA general said this at a conference on Monday which was the Heroes Day.
“Zimbabweans should use social media in a constructive rather than in a destructive way we see today. Why are you scolding your leaders? Have you ever done that to your parents? Whenever there are problems, we should seek dialogue to solve them and not parade all those cartoons we see on social media,” fumed Chiwenga.
He added; “Recent events in Zimbabwe clearly demonstrate that State institutions, socio-political systems and even territories can now equally be threatened by the manipulation of ideas through the use of social media as happened in North Africa and elsewhere.”
“For example, the treasonous, treacherous, divisive and disparaging communiqué attributed to a clique of war veterans is a clear illustration of the misuse of social media by the fifth column and its quislings,” Chiwenga said.
He added: “We view social media as a medium of communication and as, government we are not condemning social media itself. Our worry is its manipulation by some citizens as some of the things we see on social media are uncultured. In our culture, some of these things are taboo.”
He warned those who were involved in the crafting of the communiqué as investigations would, “leave no stone unturned with culprits to face the full wrath of the law.”
Addressing thousands gathered at the National Heroes Acre on the same day, President Robert Mugabe also revealed similar fear for the repetition of the 2010-11 Arab Spring which saw the fall of North African regimes to social media organised protests.
“…We have no problem with a party trying to seek relevance through demonstrations but for people to arm themselves with stones, we don’t want; we don’t want such violence,” Mugabe said.
“For them to gather saying ‘let’s come and do violence like what happened in Arab countries, that is the only way we can remove the government’, where has the vote gone? You no longer want the vote! But that is democracy.”
Mugabe said calls for street protests among his opponents showed they were not confident of their own capabilities in upstaging his government through elections.
Chiwenga and Mugabe’s comments come soon after it emerged that government was planning a law which will empower the police to confiscate people’s mobile phones and laptops if they suspect abuse on the owner’s part.