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.
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.