Their role is to promote the image, policies, programs and leadership of the country. They also seek to promote peace, unity and development
By Kennedy Mandaza
‘We are not techno-savvy. Do not be beaten to the game. Get in there and dominate the social media. Potai muchirakashana navo mumaSocial media imomo”, said the President and First Secretary of Zanu-PF Cde ED Mnangagwa as he addressed the ruling Zanu-PF youth league
This message to the youth league set the tone and the rallying point of the now famous varakashi, to go on all-out online to campaign, defend and set the narrative about ZANU PF, Zimbabwe and its leadership on social media platforms such as Twitter.
Varakashi is the Shona word for destroyers. They are not social media trolls as peddled by those who have failed to keep pace with the varakashi.
Unlike varakashi, social media trolls are people who deliberately provoke others online by using inflammatory and offensive things. Social media trolls aim to make people upset and angry.
This is not what the varakashi do. Varakashi are in response to the advent of social media, fake news, how it has been used to project and dent the image of ZANU PF and Zimbabwe and the vilification of the leadership of the same. It is in response to the call by the President of ZANU PF to be actively visible on social media.
Varakashi have undoubtedly had a mark and effect on public discourse on social media. Their presence has helped to set the correct record about the Zimbabwean story.
Who are these varakashi? Varakashi are made up of ZANU PF members and patriotic Zimbabweans, dotted all over the world, who voluntarily have taken it upon themselves to push a narrative of telling the Zimbabwean story as it is.
Challenging the fake news and misinformation as well as correcting the narrative
Contrary to the perception peddled by those who have felt the weight of the varakashi, varakashi are not on anyone’s payroll.
They are driven by the sole desire to defend Zimbabwe and project a good name of the country, as well as promote peace and unity among Zimbabweans.
The social media space has been inundated by fake news, and negative narratives about Zimbabwe as well as rampant misinformation predominantly posted by those in the opposition.
The peddling of these negative reports and misinformation portray Zimbabwe as a failed country. Narratives that are peddled do not promote peace, unity and development. They relentlessly disparage Zimbabwe to the point of scaring would-be investors and even fellow Zimbabweans that would want to go back to Zimbabwe.
Such narratives are corrected by the varakashi by challenging the fake news and misinformation as well as correcting the narrative.
To a greater extent varakashi seek to tell the correct story about Zimbabwe. They do not just criticise anyone who dares to challenge the policies or leadership of Zimbabwe.
Their role is to promote the image, policies, programs and leadership of the country. They also seek to promote peace, unity and development in the country.
In doing so they are wary of putting the image of the party and country into disrepute, hence they engagements in the main are seasoned with love, humility and respect.
Varakashi should be applauded for correcting the wrong narratives peddled by the opposition, because Zimbabweans regardless of their geographical location deserve the truth in order to make informed decisions.
Mandaza is Zanu-PF spokesman in South Africa, and is an avid reader of The Sunday Express. He was on Hot Seat as a guest of the newspaper
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