Statement on Proposed Protest Against Bustop TV

We read with concern the recent letter circulating on social media where a shadowy organisation, the Revolutionary Legacy Association, has written to the police asking for permission to demonstrate at our Moto Republik offices. Written by S Mahlangu, the letter proposes a demonstration and a vigil against Bustop TV who are based at our Moto Republik hub on Monday 16th December 2019. The reason for the proposed demonstration is the fact that Bustop TV published a meme with President Mnangagwa’s face superimposed on a model’s face at the recent Miss Universe competition. Mahlangu says they “condemn this behaviour” and that Bustop TV “must explain or close.”

At Magamba, we believe in everyone’s right to demonstrate and to express themselves freely. This is how we can build a truly participatory democracy. However unfortunately the letter from the Revolutionary Legacy Association goes beyond a mere demonstration and threatens to close Bustop TV and our hub. This is a worrying attempt to muzzle free expression. We would like to clarify a few things that the letter raises:

  1. Bustop TV did not create the meme, they merely shared a meme that was already circulating on social media and they stressed this point when posting the photo.
  2. The letter claims Bustop TV is “run under Moto Republik or Magamba Network” which is completely false as Bustop TV is an independent organisation. Magamba Network runs the Moto Republik hub.
  3. We feel the threat to close Bustop TV and by virtue of that our hub is an attempt to silence Bustop, one of the country’s most vital media organisations. At the same time Moto Republik is home to many of the country’s leading content creators and alternative voices – shutting down this space will deprive the country of important information and will deny many young creatives a space to work from.

At Magamba we are extremely worried about this growing trend of targeting Zimbabwean online content creators.

Source: Magamba

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