Zimbabwe army disowns protest ban circular

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The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) has urged local people to disregard a message circulating on social media platforms claiming that the ZNA has recommended the suspension of all demonstrations due to heightened political clashes in the ruling Zanu PF party and opposition parties.

In a statement signed by the Army Public Relations director, Lieutenant Alphios Makotore, the army said, “The ZNA would like to categorically state that it does not communicate its activities and or intentions through social media.

“The social media article must therefore be discarded and dismissed with the contempt it so deserves.”

The ZNA noted that the unsigned statement circulating on social media did not “ … originate from the ZNA.”

The fake statement, widely distributed on Facebook, Twitter and messaging application, WhatsApp, urged Zimbabweans to stop public protests with immediate effect.

No one has claimed responsibility for circulating the statement.

President Robert Mugabe’s government recently claimed that some people in Zimbabwe are using social media to circulate messages, which are undermining the country’s economy resulting in price increases and hording of cash.

Zimbabwe does not have a law blocking the use of social media like Facebook and other social media platforms.

Parliament has already tabled a cyber security bill aimed at blocking the “abuse” of social media.

According to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Samuel Kundishora, “the bill is a solution to the growing abuse of social media.”

Critics claim that it is designed to snoop on citizens using social media for personal, political and business purposes. – VOA