Chiridza and Chitsamatanga
Greener Journal of Internet, Information and Communication Systems. Vol. 3 (2), pp. 014-019, May 2017.
Manuscript Number: 032217042
Examining the Place and Scope of Social Media in Contemporary Zimbabwe Politics
Peter Chiridza*1 & Jonathan Robert Mauto Chitsamatanga2
Department of Journalism and Media Studies; Zimbabwe Open University, Mashonaland West Region, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe.
This paper examined the place, scope, power, or lack thereof, of social media in Zimbabwean politics. This is so because there are a lot of problems that can be observed if one takes a close look at the relationship between social media and politics in Zimbabwe today. It has been observed that some political actors do not like or distrust social media. The research sought to ascertain whether social media can be seen as an all-powerful platform capable of being used to overthrow sitting governments like what happened during the Arab springs. All this was done to determine if social media can be powerful in Zimbabwe and other typical African countries with a large rural populace without access to the internet due to poverty and sometimes ignorance and lack of interest. Discourse analysis was used to examine political social media messages in Zimbabwe in the year 2016. Face to face interviews and Focus Group Discussions were employed to engage ZANU PF political actors to get their opinions concerning these issues under study. The research established that social media has become a partner for many political actors in Zimbabwe so much that it can no longer be ignored. Its power is however limited to urban centres where many citizens have access to the internet whilst in rural areas not much people pay heed to it. For the ruling ZANU PF party, social media is more of a partner in terms of informing and mobilising supporters but its power seems to end there, as supporters of the party would rather trust and listen to their leaders when they speak to them at rallies than trust messages that come through social media platforms.
Key words: social media, politics and power, mediation.
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