‘Bread and butter’ issues dominating Zimbabwe’s social media debate

via ‘Bread and butter’ issues dominating Zim social media debate | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell on Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Zimbabwe’s social media landscape has seen political rivalries being overshadowed by ‘bread and butter issues’, with more Zim citizens using the platforms to seek answers to the social change they want to see.

This is the opinion of commentator Nigel Mugamu, the founder and moderator of the popular Twitter based discussion forum #263chat . Most often referred to by his Twitter name @SirNige  Mugamu has since 2012 led and moderated weekly Twitter discussions about issues affecting Zimbabweans.

Mugamu told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that ‘real’ issues that affect every day living in Zimbabwe are dominating discussions on social platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and even the mobile chat platform, WhatsApp.

“What social media is doing is that it’s enabled us to talk and talk openly. We have these discussions anyway at home and with friends, but now we’re talking about it with people we don’t even know. You realise that you’re not the only person going through those issues. In a way, I’m seeing us learn more from each other,” Mugamu explained.

Mugamu said the voice given to Zimbabweans through social media has grown a lot, but more because people want to see real change to everyday problems. He was reacting to questions about the weekend’s ‘exposure’ of the notorious Facebook character Baba Jukwa.

Baba Jukwa rose to notoriety last year with hundreds of thousands of supporters joining the Facebook page for the alleged inside information about ZANU PF. What started as seemingly well informed posts, soon turned worrying, with Baba Jukwa posting phone numbers and addresses of ZANU PF members, and even calling for potentially violent action.

Baba Jukwa then went quiet after the elections that saw ZANU PF once again claim power in the country. But he was back in the headlines this weekend following a video post on YouTube. The video shows information allegedly taken from the Baba Jukwa email account, and claims that two Zim journalists were behind the online character. The journalists have openly denied being involved.

Mugamu said that the social impact of Baba Jukwa has not lasted, with few people discussing the matter on social media networks.

“The thing is it’s a character, not a person. When it’s a fictional character it makes it difficult for people to take it seriously. People, leading up to the elections, became fans because of the information. But the interest has died down,” Mugamu said.

He said there is more interest in the “bread and butter” issues that affect everyday life.

“I’m not bothered by it (the Baba Jukwa debate.)Talk to me about salarygate, talk to me about corruption. I want to know how we are going to solve those things,” Mugamu said.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 8
  • comment-avatar
    munzwa 8 years ago

    the real issue is that zanu have fouled up and need to move on…

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    Bread and butter issues are now the concern of all. Even the middle class is now struggling to pay school fees and to put food on the table. The economy is at a standstill but before under the unity government we were still managing to survive.

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    By the time Zanu PF has finished with us, we will all be eating grass and sand and living under trees.

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    holy moyo 8 years ago

    I live in Vancouver and a
    Citizen of Canada..Born in zimbabwe..stripped of my rights in My country of Birth.
    I regret the birth of this despot and looter murderer and thief Mugabe…
    may my mother survive.
    Holy Moyo
    vancouver

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    biend 8 years ago

    I have asked myself again and again,whats wrong with Zimbabweans,are they blind,dumb,or really scared of the ruling Party,because this Party failed to run a viable country,years ago,still they vote them in.We cant blame ZANU for ruining the Country and the economy,Zimbabweans have themselves to blame for keeping ZANU in power after dismally performing for decades.For as long as ZANU is in power expect the situation to worsen

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      alpha 6 years ago

      What can you do to Zanu? Mugabe will just send solders and kill like he did 2008.

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    One of the diabolic things that this government has done is to destroy the middle class, which, in normally functioning countries, plays a big role in driving economic demand, thereby stimulating both production and job-creation. Now Zimbabwe no longer has a middle class. We only have the upper class and the low class. Teachers, doctors, nurses who used to be counted as part of the middle class are now in the low classes and, as Owen says, can no longer afford the things that were taken for granted by anyone in the middle class. This is a sad indictment for this kleptocracy!

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    alpha 6 years ago

    Instead of thinking on how to do with unemployment he is thinking of something stupid.