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Barns, the internet, a #263chat TweeT@ble, Baba Jukwa & an election

263 Chat
Last week’s Tweetable on how Zimbabwean politicians use social media

In October 2009, a few posts into the founding of this blog, we attended a function where media professionals and politicians were discussing “Free Expression and Freedom of the media” in Zimbabwe. We were quite surprised however that in discussing media and expression, no one mentioned the internet or mobile phones.

So we did so ourselves hoping that pointing out how Obama had used grassroots support through the internet would help. It didn’t. “My friend, this is Zimbabwe and the technology hasn’t reached those levels you are talking about,” was the reply we got. Or something to that effect. So we blogged about it in an article titled “Debating How To Lock The Stable Door After The Horse Has Fled“:

…hiding our heads in the sand on this one and pretending we can still ‘control’ how much people can say and how much they can know about what’s going on is not going to change the reality a bit. We should instead embrace the global and open nature of the Internet and use it optimally to inform people about the truth. What people choose to believe is entirely up to them and that freedom to know and choose must be a right.

Fast forward to today. Some 4.5 million Zimbabweans have access to the internet, most via mobile devices. Traditional media is scampering to get how the internet works as readership numbers (and ad revenues) offline are threatened by an ever spreading connected ecosystem. Social media is teeming with crowd contributed updates and opinion. WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter rule information dissemination.

Politicians too are scampering to catch up. The traditional media they long trusted and controlled to deliver their message to the people is now just one of the options to consume information. Baba Jukwa and Mai Jukwa are all the rage.

And there’s an election coming.

We got thinking about that event 4 years ago and the connectivity developments since, as we went through the tweets from last weeks #263chat on how Zimbabwean politicians use Social Media. Tweets like these:

Image via @HerZimbabwe

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6 thoughts on “Barns, the internet, a #263chat TweeT@ble, Baba Jukwa & an election

  1. I have a feeling the politicians are in for a rude awakening this election. Zimbabwean politicians are by large still not taking new media seriously especially the old(er) guard in the two ‘main’ parties

  2. Politicians spend more time campaigning than spreading rumours on social media, can’t be freedom of speech!

  3. Politicians are slow in implementing technology. They are too busy dealing with the old ways of passing around information. Embracing technology is difficult and integrating it into use for running is complicated. The laws and policies in place right now are so outdated and behind, IT will simply “destroy” how they do things. Baba Jukwa has seriously circumvented the protocols and acts of certain “natural moral” standards and practices in place (maybe laws) by divulging party/Gvt secrets to the public. Is there a law to prosecute him? How do you deal with him if he is caught? How is tweeting. Facebook(ing), email, treated in the Gvt? If I “hack” (crack) Econet to get free air time like the Russian guy caught hacking ( I think the term is cracking..?) MTN, what laws are applied here? Also what are the procedures and policies of dealing with that case? Econet has been given a license to deal with 2G and 3G but already we are now on 4G/LTE. TV is still analogue here yet HD and 3D is up and running in EU/US to mention a couple and soon SA. Also downloading of music and movies. Is it illegal? If I am caught, do you prosecute me for having the media or for downloading it?

    As long as the laws and policies remain as they are and the will to embrace IT is not there, IT will be seen as dangerous and characters like Jukwa will have made IT seen as a destabilising force for governance rather than progress in how countries are run..

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