6 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Army Dimisses Zanu-PF Tensions Social Media Message

Photo: The Citizen
Army General Chiwenga (file photo).

The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has distanced itself from messages circulating on social media alleging it is concerned with the escalation of tensions in both the ruling party and in opposition parties in Zimbabwe.

Director Army Public Relations Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore, in a statement released Thursday, dismissed the messages and denied they had originated from the ZNA.

"The Zimbabwe National Army would like to advise members of the public that the WhatsApp messages concerning 'the escalation of tensions in both the ruling party and in the opposition parties in Zimbabwe' did not originate from the ZNA.

"The ZNA would like to categorically state that it does not communicate its activities and or intentions through social media. The social media article must therefore be discarded and dismissed with the contempt it so deserves," said Makotore.

The message in question had recommended the suspension of all demonstrations both political and civic from 5th of October, 2017 until the reassessment of the tension and see fit the resumption of such.

The message had a wrong ZNA logo with no names and signatures of the responsible authorities on it.

Last week, information Minister Christopher Mushowe, during a press briefing on food shortages and price increases, urged people to use social media responsibly and warned that those who abuse social media risked prosecution.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa blamed the panic buying of goods on social media as well.

The government is speeding up the approval and gazetting of the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill in the face of the recent global cyber-attacks which resulted in 250 000 victims in more than 150 countries but, in Zimbabwe political analysts view the move by government to have such a bill as a means of trying to control information sharing as the country gears up towards 2018 elections.

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