Home Politics ZimbabweanLivesMatter: The Influence of Keyboard Warriors.

ZimbabweanLivesMatter: The Influence of Keyboard Warriors.

by BustopTV

By Lloyd Takawira

Rising despondency in the country coupled with a deep seated political, economic and social monocaliber has caused agitation in most Zimbabweans.

Tension in the country have become evident with pro-democracy activists, opposition leaders calling for protests.

However amidst the Covid-19 global pandemic, government has responded with a heavy hand. With the #31 July movement, a handful of protesters were arrested with main organizers going into hiding while others like Jacob Ngarivhume are languishing in prison .

Disgruntled citizens, particularly urbanites — have turned to social media, venting their frustration at Zanu PF, President Mnangagwa and his patent inability to resuscitate the failing economy and alleged brutalization of dissenting voices.

It can be observed that indeed, the recent renewed call for protests aided by internet hashtags has transformed world politics, Zimbabwe in particular.

After July 31 a new hashtag emerged #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, a social organiser, which emerged spontaneously and dynamically from the content generated and updated by social media users – and has developed a social and political power which has uncovered the Zimbabwean story to the rest of the world .

While government apologists, enablers have been adamant downplaying social media protesters under the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter , the truth is that it has gained traction and has managed to tell the Zimbabwean story.

The hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter went viral as many Zimbabweans mainly on Twitter started posting and tagging the international community with videos and pictures of victims of human rights violations.

The results have been overwhelming with a screaming condemnation from the regional as well as international community.

Former Botswana president, Ian Khama, South Africa opposition political parties, celebrities as well as the governing African National Congress (ANC) have spoken out .

South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he is going to be sending two special envoys to Harare on a fact finding mission.

ZimbabweanLivesMatter also got the attention of the United Nations and it’s various agencies who have also voiced their concerns over Zimbabwe’s political crisis. The United States of America and other West Nations have also spoken out against the alleged rights abuses.

It can observed that, the hashtag (#ZimbabweanLivesMatter ) just like the (#BlackLivesMatter) has become the conspicuous symbol of the Twittersphere across the globe.

While the government and it’s varakashi brigade are at pains to downplay the power of Zimbabweans social media activism and protests, they have to study the network of social users and how they have managed to broadcast the Zimbabwean story.

There is no doubt that social media political and social activism, has triggered a fundamental rethinking of duties and obligations for Zimbabwean citizenry .

The popularization of #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has seen a definitive metric of success as it has managed to raise awareness of key issues affecting Zimbabweans.

Doomsayers of social media especially the government need to understand that , globally, 335 million Twitter users post 500 million tweets a day and 80 per cent of those reach mobile phones carried by an average user aged between 18 and 49, thus the potential is enormous.

However, it should be underscored that while social media hashtags are powerful , they have their dark side and a fair share of shortcomings.

In the case Zimbabwe ,and the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has also been skillfully and strategically used to abuse, foment contempt, exacerbate societal divisions and facilitate the spread of fake news . #ZimbabweanLivesMatter

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