Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is confirmed to have banned his wife, Mary, from using social media. Mary used to be quite active on social media site Instagram where she used to post pictures of her family and business but went quiet with no explanation.
Zimbabwe’s Second Lady, later revealed that she had been forbidden from using social media by her husband. During an interview with the weekly publication, the Daily News on Sunday, Mary revealed that she had never been a fan of Facebook or Twitter. Said Mary,
I don’t go on social media, I’m not on Facebook, I used to be on Instagram my husband told me to close it and I did.
I’m not on Twitter, I’m not on anything, my husband said to me “If you want to be happy, stay away from searching yourself on the Internet, don’t go on social media you will live a happy life.”
So I am living a happy life with none of those things.
Top government officials from the Zanu-PF government used to be against social media use, with former President Robert Mugabe in particular, ordering people not to. However, the decrees seemed to have little effect on former cabinet minister Jonathan Moyo who used to use and continues to use Twitter to attack and expose political rivals.
Since coming to power in the November 2017, military coup, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government seems to have realised the futility of a social media ban. The government has instead tried to use social media to promote its activities as well as to push propaganda. President Emmerson Mnangagwa himself infamously ordered party stalwarts in the youth league to use social media to further the regime’s propaganda efforts. These stalwarts have since been nicknamed “Varakashi” after Mnangagwa’s exhortation “Varakashei pa Social Media Ipapo”. Loosely translated this means go after them on social media and vigorously defeat them.