UK exposes MDC Alliance violent streak

MDC-Alliance’s violence and terror tendencies that have now found space on social media platforms have yet again hogged the limelight after a party activist with close links to the party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa was arrested in the United Kingdom on a litany of terrorism charges.

A surge in cyber terrorism, that includes social media propaganda and extremism last year saw SADC member states calling for the establishment of robust mechanisms that counter the spread of terrorism on social media platforms.

In Zimbabwe, several MDC-A activists have been abusing social media platforms such as Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook to spread hate speech, incitement to violence and general rabid anti-government messages with little repercussions, prompting analysts to call for the enactment of laws that deter reckless behaviour that target impressionable minds. However, lucky ran out for UK based activist William Chinyanga, who was arrested and arraigned before the courts in that country on four charges of terrorism that could send him to jail if found guilty.

In a video shared in early December 2019 titled “The Roadmap to Zimbabwean Freedom”, Chinyanga called upon his listeners in Zimbabwe to burn buses, petrol stations, fuel tankers, attack police officers and burn buildings to exert political pressure on the government and install regime change.

Zimbabwean authorities in the UK lodged a complaint to the police resulting in the arrest of Chinyanga who now awaits trial on terrorism charges.

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A perusal of Chinyanga’s social media accounts showed that he had deleted most of his contentious videos inciting insurrection in Zimbabwe. Political analyst Obert Gutu said the word peaceful and lawful political activism is non-existent in the MDC-A, a party that has been associated with violence since its formation in 1999.

“This isn’t surprising to some of us who know these hooligans extremely well. Many MDC activists easily and stupidly confuse political activism with the promotion of violence and terrorism. To them, destruction of both publicly and privately owned property is a symbol of resistance to the Government of the day. These people simply don’t appreciate what peaceful and lawful political activism means and entails.

“They are harbingers of hate, violence and intolerance. They are just misguided and violent thugs and hooligans who possess neither a solid ideological grounding nor a viable alternative to governance. They belong in jail,” said Mr Gutu.

Analysts said hardly surprising as this may be, it is yet another lesson of how merchants of violence have been exported by the country’s opposition to operate as keyboard warriors on social media platforms such as Facebook to push their terrorist agendas across the globe and the agents vary in composition from outright thugs to academics.

Director of Information in Zanu-PF Tafadzwa Mugwadi said there was need for legislators to come up with laws that protect Zimbabweans from acts of terror replete on social media platforms.

“Zimbabwe should be reminded that the same Chinyanga was the MDC-A and Chamisa’s supposed authority on their unsubstantiated elections rigging claims prior to the 2018 elections. Now that the man has been arraigned before the courts on cyber-terrorism charges, the MDC-A and Mr Chamisa must reflect on this embarrassment. The inescapable lesson for Zimbabwe as a country is to take non-traditional threats to national security seriously by way of enactment of a contemporary deterrent legislation to suppress this emerging threat”.

Another political analyst Mr Goodwin Mureiwa said time had now come for an international collective effort to tackle terrorism.

“On this one the British justice system is commended for prosecuting an advocate of terror and destruction masquerading as a champion of democracy and freedom. Alongside others outside and inside Zimbabwe, they abused social media to fuel the anarchy of August 1 2018 in futile effort to undermine a legitimate electoral outcome, and still continue to threaten state security, peace and unity in pursuit of illegal regime change. Now that similar efforts by Trump in the US have brought global shame, it is more compelling for States to cooperate against perpetrators of global terror,” he said.

Weighing in, political analyst Mr Rogers Pote said the MDC-A is far from being a democratic party but rather a terror organisation.

“The name democratic in the party’s name should be removed and rename the party to movement for change alliance because of the non-existence of democracy in that organisation. Such acts are bad for the reputation of the country; look, we are on a mission to re-engage yet some are on the mission to soil the image of the country.”- Bulawayo24