President Emmerson Mnangagwa who once dismissed the influence of social media in determining national discourse has succumbed to the trends, and is deploying cadres in the cyber field.

Meanwhile, his regime is known for its heavy handedness on those who exercise their freedom of speech and expression.

Owing to that, some critics conclude, ‘Zimbabwe has freedom of speech, but, absolutely no freedom after speech.’

Apparently, to counter the state brutality on freedom of expression, disgruntled citizens had resorted to social media to vent their anger, and ED is deploying his team.

Mnangagwa recently made allegations that the his administration was under cyber attack from within and the outside the country’s borders.

In response his party says it is set to come up with provincial social media teams to defend the party and Government programmes on social media.

According to the party, this follows alleged campaigns by opposition elements fomenting violence while tarnishing the country’s image.

The party alleges that last month, the opposition working with some western embassies and non-governmental organisations, used social media to try effect regime change through violence disguised as demonstrations against corruption.

It further alleges that the opposition has also deliberately misconstrued the signing of the Global Compensation Deed (GCD) designed to compensate white former farm owners as a reversal of the land reform programme by the Second Republic.

Speaking during a Matabeleland North Provincial Co-ordinating Committee (PCC) meeting recently, Zanu-PF Politburo member Munyaradzi Machacha, said while many people were spreading misinformation about the country on social media, but his party members were slackening in defending the party’s programmes.

He said land reform will never be reversed but the Government in signing the GCD was following the dictates of the Constitution.

“We therefore should come up with provincial social media teams to articulate the party and Government policies.

“While some people would be going to the farms while others work in industries, we should also have a cyber unit which will be involved in defending the party’s programmes on social media platforms.

“Social media has become the new battlefield for control, but the opposition is using it to portray the country in bad light which is not the situation of the ground,” said Machacha.

“We have facts and statistics of what is happening on the ground. While they send lies on social media our teams should counter that with facts and we expect each province to be doing this.”

He said the Politburo has resolved to set up District Co-ordinating Committees (DCC) in eight provinces as has already been done with Bulawayo and Harare.

“Remember we had DCCs in the past but they became more powerful and influential than what they were designed to be. They became more powerful than their superior structures that is why the party resolved to disband them.

“But we have observed that there is a gap that has been caused by their absence in the districts that is why we are bringing them back,” he said.

“We had cases where the PCC would go and ask for permission from them yet the PCC was superior.

“When we set up the new structures, we will allow them to fly but we will clip their wings so they will not fly like eagles. They would not assume the same powers as they did previously.”