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President Mnangagwa Has An App That Allows Followers To Get News Updates Directly From Him

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa

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When I first saw the President Mnangagwa application I was a bit surprised. This embrace of tech is not what we had become accustomed but looking at the president’s track record thus far it was to be expected. Thus far he has already setup a Facebook, Twitter and a website so an application only makes sense.

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Why does the president have an app?

Well the description of the application says:

Presidential News straight from the President himself. Contact your Future ZANU PF legislators via Whatsapp. Discuss national issues with other citizens on public chat. Watch live facebook streams of my events and rallies. Read ZANU PF manifesto and the country’s constitution. Know your rights.

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A strange set of permissions

So just after opening an application for the first time you’re usually prompted to grant some permissions to the particular app and the way the prompts from this application were quite funny. Here are the three permissions I was asked to grant:

Allow Mnangagwa to access this device’s location?

Allow Mnangagwa to access photos, media, and files on your device?

Allow Mnangagwa to make and manage phone calls?

I’m probably not the only one who finds that funny and a bit weird. I denied this app any permissions – not because I’m hyper conscious about my data but those phrases was just a bit spooky to me.

Anyway…

Back to the issue at hand. The application itself contains the following sections:

  • About Me
  • News
  • Manifesto
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Public Chat
  • Photos
  • Videos
  • My Team

For some of the sections such as About Me, Photos and Videos there’s no need to go in-depth as those are self-explanatory. About Me contains some facts about the president. Photos and Videos are exactly that, photos and videos of the president. Some of the photos are from decades ago whilst some are more recent.

Videos in the app are all fairly recent but they don’t follow chronological order so I’m not sure what exactly determines what should come first. This is not an issue right now as there a few videos but if ever the catalogue of videos grows it might be a mess to navigate and find a specific video.

News

The news section filters out news that only relates to H.E and what he has said. I guess it’s a good way to track everything the President says and it may be the easiest way to track if promises are kept, depending on how long it will get updated and if the current president stays on after the Elections at the end of July.

My Team

This section is perhaps the most important in the application, as it allows users of the application to contact Zanu PF Legislators throughout the country. If used appropriately this could offer Zimbabweans and their representatives to have fruitful dialogue but I doubt that this will be the case and this application may end up being used to propagate hate. Hopefully I’m wrong…

Social Media

Though the application has Twitter and Facebook sections, clicking on the Facebook button just takes you out of the application and opens the president’s page in your default browser. In this current implementation this makes the Facebook category a bit redundant and it might as well have been put in the applications menu or away from that home page. Twitter is integrated in the application in a more useful manner than Facebook but it’s still a bit awkward since I couldn’t expand tweets.

The social media aspect is a bit half-baked and I think it was forced into the app, even though the app would have been fine without the social media component.

Public Chat

Before you get into the public chat forum you have to agree to some terms and conditions and I was doing this I expected that the public chat would be filled with either hate speech or just unruly commenters but to my surprise the public chat did not seem to have any of that. Of course there is a risk that as more people use the application the public chat could descend into chaos but from what I saw it was mainly filled with supporters.

Manifesto

The application also comes with the current ZANU PF Manifesto and even though this is available online as well, its presence here is a welcome one and I’m sure it will offer some people an opportunity to read to the manifesto for the first time. I for one will get to read it so I think it’s a welcome addition.

Overall thoughts…

It’s kind of cool to have a president who finally embraces technology but this app is a hard sell and I would only recommend it to staunch supporters of President Mnangagwa or someone who want’s to check out the Zanu PF manifesto.

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14 thoughts on “President Mnangagwa Has An App That Allows Followers To Get News Updates Directly From Him

  1. The permissions its asking are too much for a news update, they might as well ask you to handover your phone.

    But that might not have done intentionally, yet it still spookie for anyone who is technical.

    Although ED doesnt run his social platform directly, he makes effort to read one or 2 comments like he does on facebook. A welcome change which might vanish after elections wether its a win or loose

  2. lets be serious these are minimum standard permissions on any app
    check your whatsapp, facebook app permissions uzvionere anotoda
    camera,location microphone etc
    you can change those in yr settings
    these is an oppourtinity to communicate and engage with would be representatives about constituencies we live in

    1. Haiwa minimum unoiziva here iwe? Jus because facebook wants to spy on you doesnt mean their app requirement can be used as a yardstick to measure.

      You look at what the app is suppose to do, on this case, a news app. Then why would a app to browse news wants to control my phone calls?

      This can be that the developers never thought through this thoroughly, just an oversight or they really do want to control my phone and hope l will not notice.

  3. Uuuummmm, Farsi, do a bit more research on App permissions before you write a tech article. You will thank me one day.

    1. Lol Why so serious Andy? I know the permissions are standard procedure, was just pointing out that the phrasing of the permisions itself was a bit funny.

  4. It is quite normal for apps to ask such weird questions to seek for user permissions because of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) One can easily disallow these permissions as it is within their rights too. Unfortunately, you will see them in any app you will want to download as failure by organisations to do that will result in them being fined.

      1. yu have to implement it as long as yu want business from EU
        WE can all guess what happens if there is breach and yu have not implemented GDPR
        due care and due deligence

        1. Its not enforceable outside Europe, do not mislead people, l was just asking to see if the person really understand how gdpr is implemented and how it evolved from dpa

          1. asi hauna kuona all those emails Privacy Policy emails from tech companies (Google, Yahoo etc)world wide
            those are in compliance with GDPR
            due deligence
            The law applies to:

            a company or entity which processes personal data as part of the activities of one of its branches established in the EU, regardless of where the data is processed; or
            a company established outside the EU offering goods/services (paid or for free) or monitoring the behaviour of individuals in the EU.

    1. Applications asking for permissions has nothing at all to do with GDPR. It is part of the Android runtime permissions model. Before, apps would require permissions to be granted at install time, now permissions are granted at first use.

      In either the old or new model, apps should only request permissions that they NEED to work correctly. Accessing phone calls is not necessary, neither is accessing the devices location. Accessing photos could be needed to upload an image to the chat.

  5. @ the end of the day, constructive criticism is always appreciated if you are progressive and developmentaly biased. Fantastic step in the right direction ….when posting a comment on this site, check out the check boxes

  6. for app permissions it is the developer who chooses which permissions he/she wants basing on functionality of the app you have to specify that in the manifest or runtime permissions.

    I haven’t used that app but i guess the media permission is used so that the user can post pictures and staff to the chat

    the app might also allow in-app calls i guess

    Every Android app runs in a limited-access sandbox. If an app needs to use resources or information outside of its own sandbox, the app has to request the appropriate permission. You declare that your app needs a permission by listing the permission in the app manifest and then requesting that the user approve each permission at runtime (on Android 6.0 and higher).

    TL;DR it is the developer who chooses permissions to request and there is nothing called minimum blablabla

    1. “The app also allows in-app calls I guess.” Is it not better to test the application before guessing?

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