In a move aimed at capturing the younger generation, which is adept in using new technology, the Zanu-PF Youth League has launched a campaign on all social media platforms ahead of the harmonised elections scheduled mid-year.
Besides disseminating information on various interventions being undertaken by the revolutionary party to improve the economic well-being of all Zimbabweans, the social media blitz is also focusing on debunking falsehoods and blatant negative propaganda about the new political dispensation.
The decision by the Youth League to launch a robust social media blitz follows last year’s call by former liberation movements in southern Africa to vigorously utilise social media platforms to disseminate ideas and capture the voters who have made such platforms the mainstay of their daily interaction. The call was made by former liberation movements during one of their routine meetings in Luanda, Angola.
Former liberation movements in southern Africa include the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, Popular Movement for the Liberation (MPLA) of Angola, Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), Cha Chamapinduzi of Tanzania, and Zanu-PF.
In an exclusive interview, Zanu-PF Youth League secretary for administration Tendai Chirau said the party launched the digital campaign strategy in order to safeguard and defend the party’s enduring foundational ideology on various social media platforms.
“There was a misconception that cyber space was the space occupied and dominated by opposition parties, we therefore made a conscious decision as the vanguard to adopt and utilise social media as a way of defending the party’s enduring ideological ethos and principles,” Chirau said.
He said the Youth League now boasts of a strong and visible presence on social media where it is able to engage with rival political parties and counter certain deliberate misconceptions peddled by detractors.
“Through social media, the party is getting responses from opposition political parties and all sectors of society. We engage them and deliberate with them on issues to do with nation,” he said.
Chirau said the #EDhasMyVote campaign has become so popular that within a few months of its launch, it has attracted a huge following owing to it being authentic and socially interactive.
“The #EDhasMyVote campaign is being carried out on various social media platforms such WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other various other social media platforms and the response has been overwhelming,” Chirau said.
Chirau said the social media blitz was being informed by the demographic reality of youths being the majority among the 5.3 million registered voters as revealed by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
He said the Youth League felt it prudent to harness this demographic percentage through campaigns on social media, including highlighting various policies that shape the agenda of nation building to youths across the country.
“The party’s Youth League has taken to social media to pronounce, communicate and also engage young people and let them understand what the Zanu-PF Youth League is doing in line with the new dispensation. Due to the prompt response to issues, Zanu-PF now has an issues-based Youth League,” Chirau said.
He said the Youth League’s #EDhasMyVote Facebook page is rising to be one of the country’s most vibrant Facebook pages with over 15 000 likes and followers.
In line with President Mnangagwa’s call for a peaceful engagement among citizens, the Youth League discourages its members from engaging in physical confrontation with youths from rival political parties but robustly engage through ideas on various platforms.
Social media has become the new political battleground not only in the SADC region, but the world over. It has now become imperative for political leaders to be present on social media either through a Facebook page, Twitter handle or Instagram where they disseminate messages directly to the electorate.