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Social media abuse: Tsvangirai distances himself

 By Daniel Chigundu
MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai has distanced himself from social media groups that are reportedly abusing and bullying out-spoken legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Mushonga who ravaged Tsvangirai a few weeks ago over his handling of Thokozani Khupe has been a victim of cyber abuse and has even engaged the police and embassies to deal with the matter.
The outspoken legislator, who is sometimes accused of being a drama queen posted on her Facebook page that she had reported her case to the CID unit

“Report made with police Senior Commissioner Monyanga CID now to see, I understand that can now be used to find those in South Africa and the UK,” she said
However, in statement Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss has no connection with the social media abusers in questions.
“We note with regret that Hon. Priscilla Misihairabwi –Mushonga is seeking to draw a connection between her alleged social media abusers with President Morgan Tsvangirai.
“For the record, President Tsvangirai has no control over social media just as he has no appetite for curtailing freedom of expression, provided that freedom is exercised in a responsible manner. Our respect for freedom of expression is the very reason why we took no issue with the Hon. Member for her views that she aired on national radio where she verbally attacked President Tsvangirai.
“We feel she was exercising her freedom of expression in a civilized manner,” he said.
Tamborinyoka added that “In any case, we unreservedly disown the abusive chat groups and the so-called ‘Save Chete Chete’ chat group as not being the official representatives of President Tsvangirai.
“For that reason, we respect and support Hon. Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s constitutional right to report these abusers to the police, which abusers she claims issued her with death threats,” said Tamborinyoka.
Cases of social media abuse are on an increase in Zimbabwe and only a few months ago MDC-T legislators received death threat messages on their mobile phones from unknown assailants.
As if that was not enough, a Zanu PF website was hacked twice this year putting a strong case for the need to expedite the Computer Crime and Cyber Crime Bill.
However, there are fears that these cases of abuse might play well for the government to put in place a stricter Bill that might end up infringing on the freedom of speech for the citizens.
Cyber Bill was billed to be tabled in Parliament in the Fourth Session but failed to make it and is now earmarked for the Fifth Session which was opened on Tuesday by President Robert Mugabe.
The Cyber Bill final draft is reportedly being worked on at the Attorney General’s Office and there is no set date as to when it will be sent to Cabinet for approval before it makes its way to Parliament.
In previous interviews, Honourable Mushonga had told OpenParlyZW that she is not very active on social media for fear of being abused.
The latest spate of abuse might have justified her fears.

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