THE MDC Alliance (MDC-A) National Standing Committee has banned all party members “regardless of the position one holds” from discussing or debating party issues or business on Whatsapp groups.
In a memo addressed to all party members, MDC-A Secretary-General Chalton Hwende said the resolution was arrived at during a National Standing Committee meeting held on 2 December 2020.
Hwende said the corrosive and toxic nature of the WhatsApp groups that were created in the name of the party had necessitated the drastic measure.
WhatsApp group administrators who allow their groups to discuss party business and issues will be disciplined including the members who would have participated in the discussions.
Online activities that violate the above-mentioned resolution will subject a member of the Party (from the National to the Branch) to disciplinary action, Hwende asserted.
This is not the first time parties in Zimbabwe have curtailed the freedom of their members on social media platforms.
In 2016, Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF barred all party members from discussing party business on social media as factionalism between the G40 and Lacoste camps heightened on the back of a frail Mugabe’s deteriorating health.
Members, however, continued against the order especially G40 gladiators led by then Politburo member Jonathan Moyo. The G40 was seen as favoured by Mugabe to succeed him.
Chamisa also barred members from discussing party issues on social media early last year as factionalism reared its ugly head towards the party’s congress. The move was however viewed as targeted at then Secretary-General Douglas Mwonzora as all other officials especially those aligned to the Chamisa camp continued regardless. ■