The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) plans to lobby government to block social media in future elections and alleges these platforms were responsible for “releasing toxic information” during this year’s disputed polls.
Tauri Gavi, ZEC director for voter education, said, “We need serious regulation of social media by way of a law and ZEC is going to lobby parliamentarians to ensure such a piece of legislation is put in place ahead of the 2023 elections.”
Gavi claimed the absence of a regulation to deal with social media resulted in meddling in the electoral process.
“The social media literally spread poison by way of several misconceptions and lies during the election,” he said.
Grace Kwinjeh, MDC Alliance representative to the European Union, said, “That only stands to show or rather prove that they are indeed guilty of manipulating electoral processes. Countries with nothing to hide do not fear social media.”
Local media expert Trust Matsilele said, “They are moving back to the default position of Public Order and Security Act, and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act that characterised Mugabe’s rule the whole lipstick propaganda of new dispensation is peeling off. ZANU PF will never reform and will never be a conduit for free speech, democracy and all democratic tenets.”
“In their DNA, there is dictatorship and tyranny so this is indeed the true character of the ZANU PF party something that was being covered by the fleeting moment of the past eight months,” Matsilele added.
Activist and social commentator Mulingisi Dube said: “That will be a very retrogressive development. ZEC should roll out a robust social media and digital strategy to counter instead of using backward laws. People will always fill vacuums created by players. Penalising social media seems like they are hiding something.”