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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Crisis Report Issue 203
in Zimbabwe Coalition
July 25, 2013
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Feya hosts election manifestoes debate
The Feya Feya
campaign on Wednesday July 25, 2013, hosted the Feya Feya debate
on political party manifestoes, at the Media
Center in Harare. The debate was aired live on ZiFM Stereo,
a commercial broadcaster and streamed live on the internet, breaking
new ground in terms of reach and access to information.
The debate attracted
a full house studio audience of approximately 500, and is the closest
thing that Zimbabwe has had to a head to head live political parties
“Presidential Debate” type event which is broadcast.
The Feya Feya
debate was collaboration between the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and the Media Centre. The
debate dubbed Feya Feya Debate, assisted in nudging the 2013
harmonized election campaign trail into the turf of ideas beyond
smear campaigns and populism by political actors.
for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
was represented by the party’s National Organizing Secretary,
Minister Nelson Chamisa while the Zimbabwe African National Patriotic
Front (Zanu-PF) was represented by former legislator and Zanu-PF
politburo member, Mr Patrick Zhuwawo. The MDC led by Prof. Welshman
Ncube was represented by party Vice President Edwin Mushoriwa.
the event before it commenced, McDonald Lewanika, director of the
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said: “At Crisis we believe
that debate is freedom and always do what we can to promote open
debate, especially at critical political moments like the one we
are at with an election just under a week away.
Feya debate follows in the tradition of the Crisis debates, which
were held during the Constitution making process, whose format does
not lend itself well to politicking, sloganeering and opaqueness
that as the organizers, the Media Centre, CHRA and the Feya Feya
campaign “believe that the people of Zimbabwe, (besides the
rallies which are unitary in set up with each political party selling
its spin) have a right to see these parties side by side, hear their
issues in comparison and make an educated choice based on that”.
He said: “The debate is an attempt to see beyond the “old
people” and “ugly faces” discourse because the
election is not a beauty contest but a focus on pertinent issues
and leaders’ visions and plans for the country.”
that the Feya Feya debate on political parties manifestos was a
unique initiative which saw a campaign, Feya Feya, a social movement,
CHRA, and a specialized technical partner, Media Centre, creating
an unusual synergy with ZiFM.
he shared, would see the event being accessible to the ordinary
masses through CHRA’s network, tech savvy citizens and international
solidarity partners through the Feya Feya international network
and Facebook and Twitter platforms, radio through ZiFM and video
and additional media platforms through the Media Center.
The venue at
the Media Centre was packed with a diverse audience, which included
members of the public, business executives, civil society leaders
and journalists who witnessed as the parties advertised their governance
menus which they would dish out to Zimbabweans if they were elected
into power on July 31.
the debate live on radio, streaming it on internet and tweeting
about it live, meant it was the first such single Feya Feya campaign
event to reach out to thousands of people beyond physical and space
constraints, within and without the boarders of the country, following
the endorsement of the campaign by over 83 civil society organisations
at a conference held in Bulawayo on June 27, 2013.
The three parties
which were represented are part of the outgoing Government
of National Unity (GNU) established by the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) in February 2009, and are largely
seen as the major political actors in the country.
In a bid to
be retained by voters in government beyond the imminent polls, the
parties launched their manifestoes within three weeks after the
of the election date on June 13, but thus far the election has,
largely, been characterized by sloganeering, slander and promoting
personalities ahead of issues and what the parties stand for.
have so far traversed the length and breath of the country on the
campaign trails courting potential voters, who on July 31 2013 will
have the final say on who presides over the state for the next five
her feeling on the idea of live manifesto debates which brought
the contesting parties on one platform, one female attendee Viola
Chitukutuku who is a registered voter said: “It is important
for us to hear what the political parties are offering so that when
they fail to deliver we can remove them with our “x”
as we did when we put them in power.
you should have done this debates as soon as the campaign started
so that we could have the political parties debate on their manifestoes
and assess their manifestoes in time.”
of live election manifesto debate has been a part of modern day
electioneering in advanced and advancing democracies, which has
its roots in the United States of America. In the immediate past
elections in the United Kingdom and Kenya, televised debates were
introduced for the first time.
On July 21,
2013 at a rally in Mkoba Gweru, Morgan Tsvangirai, the sitting Prime
Minister and aspiring Presidential candidate, challenged his four
competitors to a live debate, but his challenge has not seen any
takers so far.
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