Zimbabwe’s police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri has banned the police from social media, claiming they were “writing nonsense” on online platforms.
“Some of my police officers are joining social media. They are getting excitable about it, also writing nonsense on these social media. I urge them to be responsible citizens who contribute to our well-being and peace building,” said Chihuri.
A close ally of dictator Robert Mugabe, who has declared war on social media, Chihuri claimed it was being used by Zimbabweans to “insult each other”, a reference to the ongoing tiff on Twitter between the despot’s spokesman George Charamba and Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who is the higher education minister.
“Why do people wake up every morning, to get a wide vocabulary and research, only to insult the others instead of working for peace and harmony? I am not a social media person. I would not want to disappoint myself by reading the so-called social media which is full of negative things,” Chihuri said.
Chihuri said he would never allow himself to be “dragged into the chaotic world of confusion created by social media”.
Sources within the police force however said Chihuri was furious that whistle blowers within the Zimbabwe Republic Police had set up internet drop boxes and WhatsApp groups where they exchanged information about his ineptitude and corruption. One such group on Facebook, ZRP Corruption Monitor regularly publishes articles and photographs detailing police corruption and attracts thousands of followers.
Spokesman for Mugabe’s Zanu PF party Simon Khaya Moyo reaffirmed the party’s position banning social media use. The party adopted a resolution at the party’s 2014 congress banning members from using social media.
“The president says we must avoid social media. We are a party with structures and where we have situations of transgressions they should be brought to the party through relevant structures. If somebody raises those issues in the politburo meeting the party will come up with a position,” Khaya Moyo said.
Zanu PF banned the use of social media, especially Facebook in December 2014 after a faceless blogger using the name ‘Baba Jukwa’ started splurging party secrets on a page that grew rapidly to half a million followers. The government arrested several people, including a state media editor in the hunt for ‘Baba Jukwa’ but has failed to identify the whistleblower who exposed party murders of senior officials and massive theft of government resources, especially the lucrative Marange diamonds.
The Zimbabwean presidency and the ZRP do not have official websites. Zanu PF’s site is amateurish and not updated regularly.
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