Recently I had the opportunity to witness my very first whatsapp debate, it’s a creative and easy way to hold international discussions around global issues, as you can see from this article. So delegates, what’s stopping YOU from organizing your very own whatsapp debate?
BY ANDREW MUGANIWA and HONEST RWODZI, Harare Zimbabwe
Over the decades, technology is an advancement that has been used, overused, misused perhaps abused or at times not used at all. For many years we have made tremendous strides in the area of scientific and technological development. Through the evolution of science and technology, the birth of communication has brought with it hope and unity around the globe with the greater minds receiving the much needed greenlight in their philanthropic deeds. Through our scientific genius we made it possible to dwarf distance and place time in chains. We have been able to carve highways through the stratosphere. We made it possible to eat breakfast in Harare, Zimbabwe and dinner in Doha, Quatar. We made it even possible for a cent to send or receive mail instantly-within a fraction of a second, a mail which many years ago would take months to reach its destination with exorbitant costs.
That is wonderful, that is progress. But we, the generation of fascinating and astounding advances, have been lagging behind our moral and spiritual faculties. Social media such as whatsapp has been a reservoir for gossiping, for nude pictures and an avenue for all trivial issues happening around the globe. The two writers of this article who have been associates since time immemorial do bear testimony that they had a propensity for treating whatsapp with the greatest triviality best known to them!!
However, it is said only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. The recent developments in South Africa presented an opportunity. The ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ event was received with mixed feelings around the globe. Through a random, diplomatic and intellectual conversation on whatsapp with a friend (Anna Coric), the incident was the mainframe that inspired Honest Rwodzi (co writer of this article) to pioneer and create a global gathering of students and thinks tanks around the globe on the whatsapp platform to meet and discuss the evolving interesting global surroundings. To cut the long story short, we created a whatsapp group where we invited a number of colleagues. That day was our day which seems to echoe the words of Martin Luther king jr who had a ‘dream’. Today the dream to have people from all walks of life around the globe has been fulfilled through such social media for intellectual purposes where those of the goodwill produce fruitful results. As ‘Victor Hugo once said, ‘there is nothing more powerful in the world than an idea whose time has come’. That idea was debating global issues on whatsapp. Hitherto, we are now living a day and age when an idea has come into being.
By debating on whatsapp, it is our belief that we can build a better world where all men can respect dignity and the worth of human personality. Debating on whatsapp will keep us from falling, and lift us from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope. This also ascertains the participation of individuals from the comfort of their own homes, offices and areas of respectability under the guise of one interest regardless of time or geographical distance. Debating most pressing global events will demonstrate that people of goodwill can use Whatsapp more fruitfully than those of ‘ill will’.
Basic rules or guidelines when debating on Whatsapp:
v Set a date and time for debate. In our case we normally debate on Sundays promptly at 1900hrs +2hrs GTM, so it is usually a two hour session
v There has to be a mover of the motion/the main submitter who introduces the question to be debated.
v There has to be a chair or moderator who is responsible for maintaning order during the debate
v Delegates must be given the debating questions at least 5 days before the debate.
v Delegates must keep their facts accurate as the chair or other delagates have the right to ask for proof.
v No offensive language/behaviour during debate that includes but not limited to remarks against race, gender, sexual orientation, religion etc.
v Delegates who do not comply will be ejected or removed (from the group) by the Chair without prior warning.
v NB* Whatsapp allows multiple administrators so the Chair must be made an admin.when delegates see the Chair typing, please await instructons before sending any responses.
v If delegates have any queries, remarks, points of personal priveledge, and points of parliamentary procedure during the debate, they must private message the Chair. Posts which have nothing about the debate are prohibited from the group.
v After debate, the submitter and the chair or any volunteer shall draft and produce a comminique prefarably before the next debate.
v NB* Anna Coric must be acknowledged for coming up with the above rules. Images attached serve to demonstrate how effective and efficient is debating on Whatsapp.
Topic1: as submitted by Andrew Muganiwa. ‘The Fall of The Statue of Rhodes, Is It Justified? What implications does it have on the socio political environment and the entire citizenry?’
Topic2: as submitted by Nyasha Chidzero.’to what extent are the governments responsible for the collective actions of their people?In approaching this question keep in mind among other things : outbreaks of xenophobic violence in South Africa, the response (or silence) of various governments’ Chaired by Ana Coric
Topic 3: as submitted by Ezra Masama. ‘Do African leaders still have confidence in the institutions they have created? In line with the above question one has to consider: the role of the African Union (AU) in free and fair elections and in facilitating democracy’ Chaired by Nikiwe Gaorekwe(MUN Botswana)
(Contact Honest Rwodzi at email@example.com for tips or pointers on how to set up a whatsapp debate, or even to get connected to debate in the future!)