As ZanuPf youths launched #EDHasMyVote campaign yesterday, the same government which has always perceived the internet as a threat to their existence struggled online, mainly because prior to this new political dispensation, the party thrived on rural ignorance and muzzling of the state media.
Any form of media that dared said otherwise or had a divergent or open view was seen as an enemy of the state, hence a more controlled environment became a culture which ZanuPf accepted, and freedom of expression was an alien, forcing the then President Mugabe to plead with ministers to shun social media as platform to engage.
By Toneo T Rutsito
However, the culture of freely expressing one online has been easily embraced by the new president ED Mnangagwa who has been more visible online than at any other public gathering. The sentiment I guess provoked the youths to also open a new online presence under the banner #EDHasMyVote. Albeit with no digital strategy.
The better part of the online movement saw little to no digital presence as the party leadership spent time on understanding the power point presentation while probably the better part of the word was disconnected from the movement.
Their facebook page 24hrs later had a handful of supporters of only 82 fans and less than 85 followers while the hashtag trended well on Twitter with many people mentioning on the follow-up conversations, their official twitter account has 0 tweets, following 10 people and got 53 followers.
This is a hard sell for a national party movement
A lot could have been done as far as making such a hashtag trend, with thousands of people on ground specifically gathered for the hashtag, All they were supposed to have done is to go all out to let the world know they have stormed the internet.
More than one thousand people attended the event, but these were all reduced to spectators who could have been the actual people driving the Hashtag, after at least following the account, they could have shared topical points and help it to trend.
This was supposed to be a digital warfare but for conventional political players, they failed to move the beautifully woven #Hashtag from the projector Screen to the real people online.
The real battle is not on who has more Likes or Tweets reaction on social media but rather can these political players covert the online community into real votes.
The opposition MDC with a huge urban vote is still snoozing online, without a clue on how to engage supporters while they are still caught up in internal power squabbles.
Here is more in detail on what transpired from the SundayMail.
Norman Muchemwa and Lincoln Towindo
President Emmerson Mnangagwa will soon engage Zanu-PF youths to map out how they can fully participate in economic activities as the President reaffirms commitment to make the young generation the cornerstone of Zimbabwe’s development.
This was said by the ruling party’s National Secretary for Youth Affairs Cde Pupurai Togarepi at the launch of the Zanu-PF Youth League’s 2018 election campaign under the #EDhasMYVOTE banner.
The campaign is an aggressive
online movement to drum up support for the party’s 2018 Presidential election candidate.
Zimbabwe is due to hold harmonised elections in the first half of this year.
At yesterday’s swanky campaign launch in Harare, Cde Togarepi told youths to abandon hateful slogans including the “down with/pasi na” chant.
Said Cde Togarepi; “President Mnangagwa is somebody you can talk to. We are going to have interactions with our President very soon. And these interactions are not going to be like those interface rallies.
“The President is ready to hear you; what do you want and what you think will develop Zimbabwe. We will not have rallies when we interact with the President.
“We will be seated in one room like we are doing now; exchanging ideas and you will be telling him what you think will develop the country, giving him proposals on how we can transform the Zimbabwean economy. That is what we plan to do. He is our President, so he must be among us interacting with us.”
Cde Togarepi said the online campaign will give the Youth League wide, instantaneous reach to millions of people.
He said the main campaign message will centre on economic development, while insults and name-calling will be shunned.
“The reason why we have launched the hashtag is to defend our revolution,” he said. “As the Youth League leadership, we decided that we should communicate what Zanu-PF is, what ED Mnangagwa is through those online platforms.
“Our opponents are also on those platforms. We then agreed that we should engage them, we are not going to use social media as a tool of hate, enmity and insults but we want to use these platforms to communicate our message as Zanu-PF – the beauty of our party and ideology and the principles of our revolution.
“We want to communicate that and I beg you to take this challenge. I know there will be those who will wage war to insult you; don’t insult them back but tell them the truth.
“Tell them the truth and defend the revolution. There is no reason whatsoever to hate or insult a member of the opposition for example, engage them.
“Fortunately they have nothing to sell and we have everything to prove that we are the true representatives of our people. So we engage them and liberate their minds and Zimbabwe will prosper.”
On slogans he said the party leaders had decided to break from the past.
“Cde (Godfrey) Tsenengamu has said there is no reason now to enjoy saying down with this person or down with that.
“That position has already been adopted by the party leadership. They have said no to that, those words must go. We need to unite our people, to inspire them to contribute to development of Zimbabwe.”
Cde Togarepi encouraged young people to be business-minded.
“We don’t want to just chant slogans; we want to go into the business sector – we already have land, we will be entering the mining sector as well and we will be processing gold too.
“We are in the process of acquiring a very big number of hammer mills, stamp mills to go and process gold as youths. There is no industry where youths can’t operate in as well.”
He added that the Youth League would soon launch a competitive public transport company.
Present at yesterday’s launch were all national and provincial ruling party youth leaders.ZAnupPF Youths