ZANU PF last week dispatched a media delegation led by party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo to China to learn strategies to consolidate its hold on the public mind through control of internet and social media platforms. The delegation has since returned home.
Report by Elias Mambo
Sources in the party claimed the delegation was sent to be “lectured on how to control the social media and censor methods of communication to maintain its hold on information and power”.
“The delegation went for an exchange programme with the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) to exchange ideas on how to modernise the print and electronic media in so far as information dissemination is concerned,” said the source.
The sources also said the CPC’s information department was supposed to share information on methods of countering western propaganda and improving effectiveness in their departments.
However, Gumbo said his trip was meant to explore ways of improving skills between Zanu PF and CPC’s information departments.
“We had a successful trip where we met our counterparts and explored ways of exchanging and improving ideas in the information departments,” Gumbo said.
Relations between Zanu PF and the CPC date back to the 1970s liberation struggle and since Zimbabwe’s fall-out with the West over human rights abuses and the chaotic land reform programme, China and Zimbabwe have drawn closer, with the Asian giant at one time blocking UN targeted sanctions against the country.
The visit to China comes at a time government could be embarking on a sophisticated strategy to emasculate the media.
In the run-up to the July 31 elections, Zanu PF sought help from China where it dispatched all provincial chairpersons on an exchange programme. The chairpersons received ideological and mass mobilisation training from the CPC with regard to elections where they were told that their party must embrace change or die.