MDC-T suspends officials for ‘abusing’ social media

“The national council will sit following the new developments and the action to take in this case will be known after the national council has decided,'' MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora

FIVE MDC-T officials in Bulawayo have been suspended for allegedly abusing social media platforms to attack the party’s top leadership and fanning factionalism.

BY Luyanduhlobo Makwati

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the development yesterday.

Southern Eye understands that Swithun Chimuta and Boaz Manganiso are among the five MDC-T members who were suspended two weeks ago by the party’s standing committee.

“It is true that as a party, we have suspended some of our members for abusing social media platforms. We are not saying they must not use social media, but we are encouraging them to use it responsibly,” Mwonzora said.

He said the accused would soon be summoned for a hearing before an ad hoc committee that has been set up by the party.

“The party has set an ad-hoc committee that will look into the issue. For now I cannot shed light over the matter, but soon they will appear for the hearing,” Mwonzora said.

“We are reprimanding perpetrators of this whole thing and the idea behind this is not to punish them, but to simply correct them so that they would see that their deeds are not acceptable in any way,” Mwonzora added.

Early this year, MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai banned members from using social media claiming the platform was fuelling divisions in the opposition party.

The ban by the party, which had long touted itself as a champion of freedom of expression, came under attack with pro-democracy activists accusing Tsvangirai of hypocrisy.

He demanded that all WhatsApp groups administered by party activists should be closed.

“The proliferation of this abuse (social media) has reached alarming proportions and cannot be ignored any longer.

I, therefore, issue the order that any WhatsApp group administered by anyone who is an MDC member without exception, be shut down,” the statement, which had Tsvangirai’s signature, read.

“Any party structure which needs to run a social media group should access forms from the office of the president.

Those who have been found on the wrong side must consider this as an official first warning.”