PARLIAMENTARIANS yesterday rejected the notion of embracing ICTs and social media platforms as a tool for communicating with their constituencies.
These developments came to light after Social Media activist Advocate Fadzai Mahere had suggested that legislators open social media accounts in a bid to communicate with the people they represent. Mahere’s suggestion was met by massive resistance from parliamentarians who described social media as an anti-developmental platform marred with unconstructive criticism.
As Parliamentarians, your role is to be a representative and a voice of the people. In order to be effective representatives of the people, you have to be in touch with that voice. In other when you go into parliament, you are not going in to share your own personal opinion on things, but rather you going in there to represent a constituency and ultimately you are going in to represent Zimbabwe.
“Whatever legislation that comes out of parliament should be a representation not of what you personally think but of what we the people thin.
“US President Donald Trump used it to transform his political campaign. Effectiveness on the use of social media depends on the decisions you make as an individual or organisation to propagate whatever it is you want. I think in order to be effective towards the use of social media, parliamentarians have to embrace it because thats how things are being done these days,” said Mahere.
Zvishavane-Ngezi Legislator John Holder was quick to water down Mahere’s suggestion of Parliamentarians taking to social media to interact with their constituencies and the public at large highlighting that social media exposes politicians to enemies.
“The reason why Parliamentarians don’t go on Facebook and Twitter is because we are public figures and there always people who work against you and your efforts from the very first day you elected to into parliament. So the easiest way out is to keep your information as an MP and on the 19th hour bring it out,” said Holder.
“I think you could even see what came out as a result of Sylvester Nguni talking about corruption, now they are bringing out all sports of information of things that happened in the 1990s they are bringing them up now just because he is in the public domain. The best way of playing your game is to be very careful in term of the information that you let out, if i am going to post everything that i am doing in the constituency, somebody out there will do a counter development to whatever i am doing,” said Chimedza.
More parliamentarians concurred with Holder and Chimedza on the issue highlighting that politics was a different game altogether and needed one to trade carefully.
However, a few legislators have embraced social media changes and command huge followings on their pages. Professor Jonathan Moyo, Jessy Majome, Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa are probably the only four legislators with facebook and twitter accounts from the more than 200 parliamentarians in Zimbabwe.