The increasing uptake of social media communication worldwide, including Africa and Zimbabwe in particular has resulted in the use of the communication platforms for good and for worse and some e organisations have found themselves caught up in misinformation onslaughts.
By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not been spared especially at a time when the organisation is in the midst of organising what is being refered to as a watershed election in a few months time in Zimbabwe after the 1980 elections which ushered new independence in the country.
The ZEC has issued a statement informing the public that it would like to disassociate itself with an app circulating on the WhatsApp platform.
According to the ZEC, the app has a ZEC logo and the message “Click to vote.”According to ZEC, when one follows the command, the following message appears:”Congratulations! You have voted for Emmarson Dambudzo Munangagwa.Your vote counts.”
ZEC says that members of the public are advised that the message did not originate from ZEC and would like to state that the commission does not use Whatsapp to communicate public information.
The organisation says that at present it is using the mainstream media, the ZEC website www.zec.gov.zw, the ZEC twitter handle @ZECzim and bulk sms messaging to communicate with the public.
ZEC has also warned those purporting to be the electoral management body that they risk being charged with a crime of impersonation and should stop the practice forthwith.
The commission has also advised the public that it is not possible for upcoming election candidates to receive votes through a mobile phone app, since voters have to present themselves physically at their respective allocated polling stations to cast their ballots on the polling day.
“Having said so, the commission urges all members of the public to take a keen interest in this important process by coming out in large numbers to inspect the voters roll,” ZEC Chairperson, High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba said in a recent statement.
The false message has also come at a time when the ZEC has been facing an onslaught especially from opposition political parties on whether it will conduct a credible and free and fair election, including allegations of vote rigging which the organisation has strongly refuted.