ICTs and the new dispensation

THE opaque beer mug was passed from one man to the next, as they dug the grave to bury a neighbour that had died at 94. From their animated conversation, punctuated by the thuds of picks and shovels, one could tell that the men from Mutiweshiri, deep in rural Wedza, were abreast with what was happening in the country.

Those who had travelled from the cities for the funeral, unlike many years before, were forced to listen, as their role of delivering fresh news to the rural areas in years gone by had been taken over by something as simple as a cell phone.

“The army has taken over. (Former President Robert) Mugabe has been given time to think about it and resign. He has no option,” Cornelius Madzikatire (64) told his colleagues, wiping off dregs of the opaque brew from his lips with the back of his hand.

“(Emmerson) Mnangagwa is the next man. The problem is that Mugabe is taking too long to step down. The people have spoken through the solidarity march that Mugabe is no longer wanted by the masses.”

Madzikatire is one of the rural folks, who have enjoyed the benefits of Information, Communication and Technologies (ICTs) in the country’s rural outposts.

ICTs in the country are fast becoming the in-thing with even those in the rural areas now owning flashy mobile phones and get information on social media.

With Madzikatire boasting of knowing the solidarity march occurring about 286km from his farm, thousands of people were coming together through the social media.

Zimbabweans were brought together through social media platforms before converging in the capital for a massive solidarity protest at Zimbabwe Grounds and State House to force 93-year old Mugabe to relinquish power. To many, it was the power of ICTs that helped bring the new dispensation.

Award winning freelance journalist, Tinashe Muchuri said ICTs played a crucial role in ushering in the new dispensation.

He also cited how the social media fights involving the likes of former Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and former Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere throwing pot shots at Mnangagwa significantly contributed to the collapse of Mugabe’s hegemony on power.

“Social media fights between Jonathan Moyo and Mnagngagwa created an unsteady situation in the country to the extent that it prepared the country to stand against Mugabe when the opportunity was granted by the military,” he said.

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