The internet is full of wonderful, interactive ways for people all around the world to connect and share ideas with one another. Through social media, family members can keep in touch, groups can arrange meetings, and friends can remember birthdays. Funny videos and memorable pictures are posted by everyone seeking acceptance by their “friends” and followers.
In recent years, Facebook, Twitter and mainly Whatsapp, bearing the tag of independent New Media and digital infrastructure they have accumulated, have ideally served as democratic public spheres where anyone who cares to can disseminate news and opinions. These ideas are presented in platforms of hypertextuality, multimediality and interactivity.
Unfortunately, for many people, social media is the only source they look to for news and we hate to break it to you, but some stuff people post on these platforms are unreliable sources. Most of the facts cannot be proven, and some opinions are mindless, loud and obnoxious if the least could be said.
So, if you get your news from social media, as most people do, there are high chances that at times you are exposed to a daily dose of hoaxes, rumours, conspiracy theories and misleading news. When it’s all mixed in with reliable information from honest sources, the truth can be very hard to discern.
In fact, researches analysis of data on rumour tracker suggests that this misinformation is just as likely to go viral as reliable information.
With Zimbabwe’s general election fast-approaching this onslaught of digital misinformation has intensified.
So if you see a post that your relative or friend shared, and you thought it made some good points, do some research before making an opinion. Get the facts and go to different news sources, conservative and liberal. See where they disagree and find the reason the issue is popular right now.
Anyway, abuzz on the interwebs this week is a short note, supposedly from the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Board of Directors summoning all its leaders across the country to attend some sort of convention with the sole agenda of excommunicating MDC Alliance presidential candidate and Pastor Nelson Chamisa from all AFM Churches.
Advocate Nelson Chamisa was ordained pastor after completing a diploma in theology with the Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe’s Living Waters Theological Seminary in Harare two years ago.
Here is the note as we received it via Whatsapp:
FRO; APOSTOLIC FAITH MISSION IN ZIMBABWE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
DATE;- 15 JULY 2018
TO ;- ALL AFM LEADERSHIP IN ZIMBABWE
AGENDA :- EXCOMMUNICATION OF REV.NELSON CHAMISA FROM ALL AFM CHURCHES
BULAWAYO, AZUZA BIBLE COLLEGE.- The AFM in Zimbabwe Board of Directors has anonymously excommunicated Rev Nelson Nehemiah Chamisa who is the MDC Alliance Presidential aspirant for the following reasons;-
-MINGLING POLITICAL AMBITIONS WITH HEVEANLY CALLING THUS BRINGING THE CHURCH INTO DISREPUTE
-BREAKING THE CHURCH CONSTITUTION
-DIVIDING THE CHURCH ACCORDING TO POLITICAL AFFILIATION
-UNDERMINING THE AFM PRESIDIUM BY GOING TO A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY IN ISRAEL WITHOUT CONSULTING
THEREFORE THE AFORESAID IS NO LONGER OUR BRETHREN ANYMORE.
AFM Has done this in the past to :-Apostle Ezekiel Handinawangu Guti
Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa
And many more, NO ONE IS BIGGER THAN THE CHURCH.
GRACE BE UNTO YOU ALL
While we were trying to consume the above note with its intolerable solecism and unofficial style, there surfaced another note, allegedly a response from the actual AFM General-Secretary Rev A D Madawo, denouncing the above note and declaiming that the church did not excommunicate any of the clericals whose names were mentioned in the above message.
The note reads:
AFM In ZiMBABWE distances itself from the message which is circulating in social media about the excommunication of Nelson Chamisa from AFM in Zimbabwe. First and foremost AFM is not run by a Board of directors and Azusa Bible College is not the AFM Head Office. Secondly Nelson Chamisa is not a an ordained pastor or Reverend of the AFM although he is an ordinary member of the AFM. AFM is a non political church organisation open to all people from various political pursuasions. As a church we do not interfere with or influence any of our members’ political convictions.Let it be put on record and let it be made clear that AFM did not excommunicate any of the servants of God whose names were mentioned in the message that is circulating. AFM as a church respects and has cordial relationships with them. The message that is circulating is fake news. It does not and it did not originate from the AFM secretariat.
Rev A D Madawo
AFM General Secretary
So, both notes, whichever is true or fallacy, lead us to conclude that they might be products of the ongoing political de-campaignings and smearing talks which have taken over the national media with the election looming.
However, insomuch as we tolerate all these ongoing political besmirching, we will also appreciate it if they do not play around with things like church protocol and governance as each piece of misinformation contributes to the shaping of our opinions. Overall, the harm can be very real, not only to the candidates but to the Church community in its entirety.