Social media users let fly over Mugabe's speech spectacle

Digital Content

Government officials in Zimbabwe are pulling out all technological stops, including Twitter, state media websites and other platforms, to try to control response to a mix up that saw President Robert Mugabe read the wrong speech at the official opening of parliament on Tuesday.

It was a day packed with drama and comical developments which culminated in Mugabe reading out the wrong speech.

"The mix-up happened in his secretarial office. Therefore the delivery in Parliament should be set aside," said George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesperson in a statement that was immediately posted on the websites of state controlled media.

To start off with, the national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation dropped live broadcast of Mugabe's speech after opposition parliamentarians had threatened to boo and heckle the 91 year old leader.

As Mugabe readied to enter parliament, Innocent Gonese, the chief whip of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) rose on an order of privilege to complain that his MPs had received death threats through text messages. The speaker of parliament advised him to take the issue to police.

Social media had a field day as Zimbabweans took to Twitter and Facebook to discuss the issue, with some saying Mugabe had failed to realise that he was reading the wrong speech.

However, outspoken former information minister, Jonathan Moyo jumped onto Twitter to control the damage caused by developments of the day.

"Reading wrong speech in its entirety and not realising it is (wrong) is a big deal. Zimbabwe is on auto pilot – aging is for real," wrote human rights activist, Dewa Mavhinga on Twitter.

Another Twitter user, Brighton Musonza, wrote that when Mugabe tripped and fell, it was his own problem. However, he adds in his tweet, "wrong speech is a serious matter that demands impeachment".

Moyo, who has ruffled many feathers in Mugabe's Zanu PF party with his outspokenness on social media, defended the situation, saying it demanded to be corrected in parliament. Mugabe has since summoned parliament for special business today and he will deliver the correct speech.

"It's no big deal if reading it in its entirety is a reader's deliberate decision after noticing it's a wrong copy!

"Of course it's not ok but it's common & happens even to the best in the business!

"Speech was wrong for the day but otherwise right. Facts in earlier speech remain relevant, important & cheerable!," said Moyo in his many tweets.
Source: ITWeb Africa 16 September 2015