THE internet has distributed the power that was once a preserve of the political elites, says musician and activist Fumba Chama.
Chama popularly known as Pilato said people today use social media to express themselves without having to be scrutinised by anyone but themselves.
Speaking after the Lusaka Internet Forum 2021 held on Wednesday, Chama who is also People’s Action for Accountability and Good Governance in Zambia executive director said the internet was the new normal in practical terms.
“The internet demonstrates how everyone has a voice regardless of where they stand economically or academically. And that is the backbone of a working democracy. Democracy depends so much on active participation of the people and this participation is not limited to any class of society,” he said. “The internet has distributed the power that was once a preserve of the political elites. Today, we use social media to express ourselves without having to be scrutinised by anyone but ourselves. The internet has amplified the voices of the people that were once insignificant and ignored in national debates.”
Chama said the people whose views and opinions could not be accommodated in the traditional media can now express themselves online and participate in national debates.
“As we go towards the 12th August elections, we continue to see conversations originating from social media streets going all the way to the mainstream media. The internet is now setting the agenda for national conversations. The campaigns that used to be in physical markets have now moved to internet markets and internet streets,” he said. “All the leaders participating in the forthcoming elections are actively using social media to canvass for votes. This confirms that the internet will play a huge role in the coming elections and its influence cannot be undermined. That is why we are worried with the character of the Cybersecurity Act because it has the capacity to limit the capacity of engagement of the people that may not be privileged.”
Chama said people understand the quality of decisions when they become history.
“We understand the quality of our decisions when they become history. Every action or word produced today is a brick towards creating a future atmosphere in which we will live. Build well,” said Chama.