Zanu PF at it again, sending unsolicited messages to voters. Where do they get our numbers?

Leonard Sengere Avatar
GB WhatsApp features holding phone

The game of love is a game of cat and mouse. I should know. In that game, a phone number is a precious tool to corner your prey. Oh, you should see the high fives that are dished out by the predator’s friends when one finally gets those all-important digits.

Of course, the number is but the first step. How you use that number will determine whether you’ll be going hungry or not. Some of us out here have Rolodexes upon Rolodexes but no result to show for it. We get the numbers but that’s it, the prey still escapes.

So, we are forced to get back to the drawing board and seriously contemplate whether we should keep stacking those numbers. I feel like the ruling party and I have something in common there. We get the numbers but our efforts to woo the prey leave a lot to be desired.

Zanu gets the digits in 2018

We are months away from holding presidential elections and as you would expect, all candidates are launching full-scale charm offensives. Well, some, I have no idea what some are doing. Zanu PF is of course one of the most active.

The last presidential elections were held back in 2018 and Zanu PF somehow got the digits. They found themselves in possession of the voters roll and that meant every registered voter’s phone number. That is quite the gold mine. I bet it was high-fives all around at Zanu PF headquarters.

They used the numbers. They sent us messages, sweet nothings to persuade us to vote for them. I would have done the same, I guess. How did they get them digits though? I got a message but I didn’t remember giving out my digits.

The saga ended with lawsuits. A Masvingo lawyer took the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zanu PF, Econet and an aspiring MP to court. Someone had to tell us how Zanu PF got the numbers and Econet had to answer for allowing the sending of bulk messages to people that had not subscribed for that.

MDC Alliance contested the 2018 elections saying ZEC released phone numbers to Zanu PF. It was a whole thing.

  • Econet denied sharing our data with third parties
  • ZEC said they “didn’t give political parties your numbers they must have researched on their own

Zanu researched on their own huh?

It’s happening again

Zanu PF is at it again. They have been sending unsolicited messages to voters in their constituencies. Just like they did in 2018. There’s nothing new under the sun. And this time around the messages are signed ‘President ED.’

I have to admit, I’m a bit offended. I have not received a message this time around. What are they trying to say? Is my vote not worth the hassle? How are they choosing who gets the messages cause I have a bone to pick with someone at Zanu HQ.

Here are two screenshots of the messages sent to colleagues of mine:

Translation for the left one: Greetings. This is my WhatsApp number for Budiriro South 0719114902, save it on your phone and tell other residents of Budiriro South. I will be updating you via my WhatsApp STATUS on what the government is doing to build our country and Budiriro South. Thank you, yours President ED.

Don’t judge my translation skills, please.

So, naturally, I saved the numbers and this is what I am seeing:

Arts and entertainment? Who knew? I will not be able to see the Status updates the president is talking about because he doesn’t have my number saved. WhatsApp won’t allow you to see the status updates of people that do not have your number saved.

No one I know who received the messages had saved the numbers and so none had seen what the Statuses (statii?) look like. Will update you when we find out.

Questions

Where did the President get these numbers? I don’t think we are ever going to find out. Could it be that they used the same database they got in 2018? I don’t think so.

See, there is an error in one of my colleagues’ information on whatever database Zanu used. They don’t reside in Budiriro and they can’t think of any reason someone would link them with the ward/ constituency.

This colleague also got a message last time around and then, the database was spot on. So indeed, this is a new database.

We could of course worry about such errors in the database because, ZEC will deny this, but without evidence or anything resembling proof, I still think it was ZEC who leaked the numbers. If that’s the case then we have to wonder how accurate the database is.

Anyway, that’s a waste of time. We are never going to find out what’s what. The only thing we can talk about is whether or not these unsolicited messages are even effective.

I would argue, for the most part – no. Maybe I overestimate how hard it is to persuade people (a lifetime of bricking my shots possibly to blame) but I don’t think a simple WhatsApp status will be enough to sway many. If it ends up working for Zanu, you’re in trouble ladies, Imma be spraying them messages.

What do you think about all this? Did you also receive messages from our President? Have they changed your perception of the ruling party or no? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read:

ZANU PF Text Saga Continues: Lawyer Takes Econet, ZEC, ZANU PF And An Aspiring MP To Court

ZANU-PF Sending Personalised Messages To Individuals, Where Did They Get That Database? Electoral Commission And Econet Says Not From Them

ZEC Released Phone Numbers Database To Zanu-PF, Says MDC Alliance In Its Petition Challenging Presidential Election Results

16 comments

  1. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa

    Musangano wakasimba kumasero,all cell registers ane ma number evanhu

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Ko nhai Emmerson ko avo vasiri musero asi vachiwana memeseji chii chiri kuitika?

  2. Jus sayin

    It’s possible that at one time the users could have unwitingly given ZANU PF their numbers during campaigns in past elections. I have noted that most people I know who received the messages have been or are currently in a ZANU PF
    related WhatsApp group

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It is possible. However, there are some who never did such but are still getting the messages. We need to know how that’s happening.

  3. Marita

    If team Pachedu managed to get into the ZEC system unnoticed, well someone might have done the same.

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      Lol, they didn’t hack them. They left private files publicly accessible, they would even show up on Google.

  4. Not Mine

    Remember shops like OK asking for the tel number of shoppers at the till. I always tell I don’t remember my phone number. It seemed less rude than I don’t share my telephone number.

  5. Kamikaze

    This is what they sent me😁😁

    PresidentED

    “Pamhemberero dzeKisimusi neGoredzva, ndakamirira Amai, Mhuri yangu uye ndakazvimiririra ndinokushuvirai mose kuti muve nezororo rine mufaro mushure mokushanda kwegore rose. Patichapembera Kisimusi tichitarisira kutanga kweGoredzva, tarisiro nezvishuwo zvemumwe nomumwe wedu, mhuri nenyika yose dai zvabudirira uye zvazadziswa. Mugore ra2023 tichaona nyika yedu ichisumukira kuenda pamusoro ichiunza pamwe chete uye kuva nebudiriro inoramba ichienda mberi muzvikamu zvose zvemabasa anoitwa munyika.”

  6. King

    Phone numbers are not hard to get coz 80% of Zimbabweans uses WhatsApp groups, remember they used to track money changers using WhatsApp groups…. and it’s also easy to determine your most frequent location using those numbers .if your number indicate that you’re in Budiriro most of the nights then they will assume you live there.

  7. Chipoko chaQueen

    Lord as a Nation we’re not ready to use burner phones and Proxies every day,we already have 2 phones (1 smartphone for bling nekambudzi keEco Cash,ndoita futi a third phone to escape The ruling party

  8. Guy from Biloxi

    I think they are getting these messages from whatsapp groups.Recently a msg from a guy who sells phones,I think he saved all the phone numbers from a certain whatsapp group then he sent us messages asking us to save his number so we can follow his ads on his status.With the Zanu thing,I think “the President” saved all these numbers so when you save ut then voila you now see each other status updates

    1. Tmars

      This makes sense… So are they saying all Zim people are shona? Coz most of the messages are sent in shona?

  9. GG

    We are being abused by these πŸ’πŸ’. Someone has to make a constitutional challenge once for all because people have to make choice when it comes to association.

  10. GG

    We are being abused by these πŸ’πŸ’

  11. 20

    The message is not a generic one. It clearly states my poking station how do ppl in you WhatsApp group know where you a voting

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