Zimbabwe’s Chief Director of Strategic Communications, Presidential Communications, Office of the President and Cabinet Dr Anyway Mutambudzi has labelled journalist Hopewell Chin’ono as a threat to national security.
He made the remarks on X (formerly Twitter) while responding to Chin’ono who had posted on the same platform saying the ZANU PF government had failed to maintain the Birchenough bridge. Chin’ono added:
"It now takes 3 cars at a time, and at times one car at a time. That is the ZANUPF legacy comrade!"
Dr. Anyway Mutambudzi responded to Hopewell Chin’ono’s post, accusing him of harbouring deep hatred towards the ruling party. Mutambudzi claimed that Chin’ono’s work posed a threat to the government, state, and nation as it aimed to divide citizens from the ruling party and government. He stated:
"Your output shows deep hatred to @ZANUPF_Official. Given that @ZANUPF_Official is the ruling party that was mandated to form a government, your work is also a threat to government and by implication to the state and nation. Your output seeks to put a wedge between citizens on one side and the ruling party, government and the state on the other. In summary, some of your posts, including their sum total effect, are a threat to national security."
He further stated that posts attacking the President were a threat to national security and warranted blocking. Mutambudzi emphasized the need for constructive criticism and progressive forces. He said:
"So I see you guys being noughty. Munotuka, you rubbish leadership, you rubbish the ruling party, you rubbish government and you attack the state at times. We have to set a standard. If your communication is not constructive criticism and we judge that you are a detractor, you attack the President, we block. We won elections and we want progressive forces going forward. This across official platforms. What you do elsewhere on this platform is of no consequence. We removing the gloves now.
If you attack the President every time you post, you are a threat to national security so we have good reason to leave you behind. You can continue with your onslaught on twitter but not in our developmental circles. Tongai pa Twitter. We know where we taking the country to."
Critics argue that such classification of individuals as threats to national security can lead to harm or persecution. Dr. Mutambudzi faced criticism for classifying Chin’ono as a threat to national security. Some argued that Chin’ono was holding public officials accountable urging Mutambudzi to give evidence to invalidate Chin’ono’s claims instead of labelling him a security threat.