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Chamisa's attempting to scare his way to State House

09 Oct 2018 at 05:45hrs | Views
Zimbabwe has, in the past week or so, been awash with claims and tweaked pictures as well as videos purportedly showing runaway prices, acute shortages and a country on the brink of collapse.

Indeed, a person browsing Zimbabwe social media would believe the country was on fire and people were eating dried guava leaves for breakfast, lunch and supper.

For the susceptible, the news being peddled on social media was "catastrophic". For some like this writer, who has lived through many winters and is social media friendly, it was a case of de ja vu. We have been through this cycle before.

The opposition loses an election, its relevance starts waning, it decides to whip up emotions and use the resultant panic as a ladder to shore up its political stock.

The opposition's script is so obvious as to be amusing in a frustrating way. It follows the lines of generating panic among citizens and then come shouting "I have the solution".

Soon after the 2013 harmonised elections, the traditional print media was replete with headlines such as "Crisis: Zim on brink of implosion". Needless to say, the country did not implode and has survived till this time, as it will surely do till the next election. This time around, it is no different.

Last week, the MDC-Alliance principals came out in full force celebrating the reported crisis in Zimbabwe and boasting how only they could solve it.

MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa's most consistent cheerleader, Patson Dzamara, was the first off the mark, posting on micro-blogging site Twitter, that: "Only a new breed of leaders can take Zimbabwe forward.

Haivhiyiwe." The party's deputy national chairperson, Chalton Hwende, gleefully commented "zvadirwa jecha", while Chamisa himself, in true "saviour mode" also tweeted: "Ready to lead Zimbabwe out of crisis. For a path to a truly new era, we have proposed a 5-point plan to make Zimbabwe great.

"There are people who did not believe in what we were saying, but I'm sure they now know that whatever and whoever else they believed or still believe is false!" And just like in the past, the opposition and its functionaries are lining up protests as the "killer punch" against Government. In the short space of time that the country has reportedly been in crisis and imploding, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, (ZCTU), career protesters —Tajamuka/Sesijikile and the MDC-Alliance itself — have lined up national protests. What a coincidence! Except, as one author once pointed out: "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it's enemy action."

It's obvious to a discerning eye that the opposition and its functionaries, making use of the malleability and non-accountability nature of social media, has launched a social media offensive to portray the country as being in a crisis.

The intention is to create panic among citizens and buttress the opposition's narrative that the country is at breaking point owing to zanu-pf's alleged inability to govern. This narrative is in turn aimed at making it easier for the opposition to mobilise for planned mass protests.

The hoped for end result is of course, Chamisa at State House, finally making use of the Guard of Honour inspection rehearsals he claimed to be holding since the pre-election period. Although this technique (in the loosest terms) has always flopped, it's surprising and increasingly worrying how Zimbabweans, especially the so-called elite, who spend hours on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other micro-blogging sites, fall for it again and again.

It is disheartening to note that it takes only a single carefully edited or cropped picture to send people into frenzy, believing that the sky is falling. A single message that cooking oil is running out will see people flocking to hoard the commodity without even checking with the suppliers. A picture of a seed loaf, a premium brand of bread, retailing at $1,55 is easily used to claim that it is now the standard price of bread in Zimbabwe.

Others are circulating a single picture of an empty supermarket shelf, claiming that that is the state of all supermarkets around the country. The more desperate and agenda-driven ones are enlisting Photoshop to augment their alarmist narratives.

While a simple stroll around town would debunk these myths, there are some among us who prefer that the situation be as catastrophic as claimed, so that they can have the upper hand in political arguments, others are simply too lazy to verify facts on the ground for themselves and prefer to follow the wind, engaging in panic buying even if the goods are unreasonably priced.

And of course it's manna from heaven for some supermarket owners who, being naturally predatory when it comes to customers' wallets, hike prices to profiteer from the confusion. And just like that, citizens have spun themselves a web.

Source - the herald
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