Zimbabwe Military Threatens To ‘Deal With’ Social Media-Powered Protesters

Things are not looking good in Zimbabwe. Amid tensions between the citizens and longtime president Robert Mugabe, the country’s army commander said today that his soldiers will “deal with threats” from activists using social media to mobilize anti-government protests, the first time the military has commented on the demonstrations. Reuters reports: Lieutenant-General Valerio Sibanda, the Zimbabwe National Army Commander, said in an interview with state-owned The Herald newspaper that social media activism was cyber warfare that the army would deal with. Neither the army, which has anchored President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year rule, nor the police force have been paid on time since June. Zimbabwe has seen several protests in recent months with unemployment above 80 percent, dollar shortages worsening as commodity prices slumped and as the region suffers its worst drought for 25 years. The largest anti-government protest in Zimbabwe in the last decade was organized on social media last month, when a strike by #ThisFlag movement shut down businesses. “As an army, at our institutions of training, we are already training our officers to be able to deal with this new threat we call cyber warfare where weapons — not necessarily guns but basically information and communication technology — are being used to mobilize people to do the wrong things,” Sibanda said.

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