US intended to start twitter-like platform for regime change in Zimbabwe


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The United States intended to start a twitter-like social media platform in Zimbabwe to trigger an “Arab Spring” type of uprising in the country, according to The New York Times.

The report, however, did not say whether the project was ever started or not or why it was shelved or abandoned.

It said the United States had started similar projects in Cuba, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Kenya and also planned to start one in Nigeria.

The projects in Afghanistan and Pakistan were shut down after they ran out of money. The Cuban experiment was exposed by last month.

The Kenyan project, Yes Youth Can, is still operational and is being credited with helping in the 2013 peaceful elections in the country.

According to Associated Press, in Cuba, the US government planned to start off by building a subscriber base through “non-controversial content”: news messages on soccer, music and hurricane updates.

When the network reached a critical mass of subscribers, perhaps hundreds of thousands, operators would introduce political content aimed at inspiring Cubans to organize “smart mobs” — mass gatherings called at a moment’s notice that might trigger a Cuban Spring.

The United States already funds Studio 7, a Voice of America radio station that has been broadcasting to Zimbabwe in English, Shona and Ndebele since 2003.

A government evaluation said the station was started as a surrogate for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation but failed to reach more than 25 percent of the targeted audience.

It also proved to be quite expensive costing US$5.22 to reach an individual while it cost Washington 11 cents to reach its Swahili audience and 6 cents to reach its Nigerian audience.

The United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe more than a decade ago but this year participated at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair after years of absence from the exhibition.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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