Wednesday, 24 April, 2019. HARARE – Mild chaos nearly broke out in Harare yesterday, at a public hearing on the Cyber-Chimurenga War Credentials Bill, when suspected Flag Party supporters sub-tweeted participants critical of the proposed law.
The law seeks to regulate the minimum qualifications for the appointment of Cabinet ministers and induction into the civil service, through the amendment of the Public Service Act.
But a public hearing to gather the views of people from all walks of life in Harare was reduced to a political rally, where speaker after speaker brandished national flags while chanting slogans before making contributions to the bill.
Two suspected opposition ZANU supporters who attempted to contribute, were heckled online by rowdy activists believed to be aligned to FP’s shadowy splinter group Tajamukirana, as the committee chair Jersey May-Jones watched helplessly, sipping delicious tea.
The contentious bill seeks to scrap the existing minimum requirements for appointment to Cabinet and replace them with new benchmarks. Any potential minister would now be required to have at least one selfie, at night, in Africa Unity Square, a strict requirement which may stymie the ambitions of many a party cadre.
Potential appointees to the posts of Permanent Secretary must possess one Facebook or YouTube video denouncing the previous regime, while carrying the national flag, and two protest selfies. Principal directors must possess a selfie inside court, while their deputies only require a selfie outside, preferably praying. The minimum requirement for entry into civil service has been changed from 5 O-Levels to 5 #ThisFlag tweets.
The Bill has largely been rejected throughout the country, but FP yesterday reportedly Ubered in rowdy youths, some visibly drunk, to support the law.
“We want our new President Zvogwadza to be given more power to ensure that the right kind of people, those who supported the cyber-struggle against tyranny, are in positions of power,” said one Ngoda, attracting wild applause from the crowd gathered at a local sushi bar.
In a first for Southern Africa, the hearing also took Skype Video submissions from the diaspora, with one patriotic lady, flanked by her sleepy-looking husband, speaking of how she was disappointed by certain people after working so hard for the cyber-revolutionary movement.
“I worked so hard for this movement, you know. I watched all the videos and prayed for the founder, only to be disappointed,” she told the sympathetic gathering.
When one dissenter rose to make a contribution, some rowdy youths turned on him, taking away his bottle of Skyy vodka and replacing it with Smirnoff.
The contentious bill has seen the Flag Party deploy some party heavyweights to defend it. Only last week, Attorney General Happiness Helele courted controversy when she spoke out in support of the bill, leading to calls that she was participating in active politics.
“Surely, we have a moral obligation to let the public know who was with them and who had a change of heart, given that so many made themselves vulnerable for the cause,” she told a tiny local blogger.
Political commissar and Minister of Information, Alley Knocker, has also been vocal about noting those who stood by and did nothing while the revolution was being conducted. He, however, begged FP members to focus on the goal and not be divided.
“Focus,” the Minister repeatedly told CNN in an interview with political pundit and former reverend Evans Mampara, on a recent trip to Dallas. “Focus!”
The controversial bill threatens an already fractured relationship with Zimbabwe’s Western funders, with new President Stain Zvogwadza already implicated in a violent crackdown on the traditional press in favour of digital outlets.
The recent disappearance of print editors Rememberance Forward and Jaw Break, both of the independent Jou Ma daily, has prompted protests in Harare’s Africa Unity Square prominently featuring their children, including a social soccer match. The match attracted scathing criticism from former media lecturer now hair model, Badluck Jonathan.
“These so-called paragorns of journalistic virtue have enough children to make two soccer teams, they planted more trees than the Forestry Commission! No wonder they ran away!” he recently tweeted.
Vice President Arex Miller has also courted the ire of the West, after blasting UNICEF and telling the Country Director to either shape up or ship out, which earned him stern condemnation from newly-appointed US Ambassador Mr Clever Newbie.