OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters have allegedly hijacked the ruling Zanu PF party’s constituency WhatsApp groups to campaign for their leader Nelson Chamisa.
As a result, Zanu PF has abandoned some of its WhatsApp groups after it emerged that the opposition had infiltrated the campaign platforms. Zanu PF leader President Emmerson Mnangagwa had created several WhatsApp groups after clandestinely obtaining voters’ mobile numbers to canvass for votes.
According to information gathered by NewsDay, CCC members joined Zanu PF constituency-based WhatsApp groups, which were open to all registered voters, and started campaigning for Chamisa.
Some of the opposition participants criticised Mnangagwa over the Gold Mafia exposè which named some of his close allies as kingpins in gold smuggling and money laundering.
The description of one of the groups was later changed to Chamisa chete chete (Chamisa only).
Zanu PF spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa accused CCC supporters of cyber-bullying.
“We are being trolled. They are infiltrating our software. The WhatsApp groups were created by some Zanu PF members who wanted to interact with the people on behalf of the President. We have the support of people. Cyber war games against Zanu PF won’t work,” Mutsvangwa said.
“It will not affect the outcome of the poll. There are hardly a million on social media. Majority of Zimbabweans don’t have smart phones, especially in rural areas so social media won’t be effective to remove Zanu PF. Social media is not our main battlefront. It is just a sideshow.”
But CCC youth spokesperson Stephen Chuma said Mutsvangwa’s outbursts were misdirected.
“It shows the dominance of our party. The social, political and economic crisis that is bedevilling the country has no political boundaries. It is affecting everyone regardless of political affiliation. That is why everyone has become CCC. In the end, change is inevitable,” Chuma said.
The unsolicited Mnangagwa campaign text messages have sparked controversy with some stakeholders accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of leaking details of registered voters to Zanu PF.
Zec officials recently refuted the claims.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa last week confronted Potraz demanding answers on how Zanu PF was accessing citizens’ personal data, including phone numbers, to canvass for votes.