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  • New Constitution-making process - Index of articles

  • Daily Media Referendum Watch - Issue 01
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    March 12, 2013

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    Media promote ‘Vote Yes’ campaign

    The ongoing campaign by Zimbabwe’s main parties for the public to vote for the draft constitution in Saturday’s referendum appeared to resonate with the media.

    The media carried 10 stories on these campaigns, four of which were in the government media. The remaining six appeared in the private media. All media reported President Mugabe’s ZANU PF and the MDC of Prime Minister Tsvangirai as having taken the campaign to all the country’s provinces, with the MDC-T going as far as South Africa, urging Zimbabweans to support the draft.

    The private media gave more publicity to the MDC-T’s ‘Vote Yes’ campaign. It was a subject in four of the six stories these media carried on political parties’ promotion for a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum. The remaining two reports were on joint rally held by the three coalition parties in Harare’s high-density suburb of Mbare.

    In contrast, the official media ignored the individual campaigns for the adoption of the proposed constitution by the MDC, preferring only to publicise the joint rally held by the coalition parties in Mbare, a development that seemed to expose the extent of media polarisation in the way they report pertinent national political developments in the country.

    For example, while the official state media gave emphasis to senior ZANU PF officials claiming that the new constitution served the party’s interests and accusing the MDC-T of having been opposed to it; the private media reported the MDC-T making counteraccusations.

    None of these media tested the veracity of such claims for the benefit of their audiences.

    In one such case, ZBC (10/3, 8pm) and The Herald (11/3) passively reported ZANU PF’s deputy secretary for finance Charles Tavengwa telling party supporters in Mbare: “The draft is pro-people and ZANU PF should endorse it to set the tone for a resounding victory in the impending elections. All our rights are contained in the draft and there is no need for going against it. Some retrogressive people have tried blocking it, but they have failed.”

    Tavengwa was also reported explaining why ZANU PF supporters must support the draft: “The document also safeguards the values of the liberation struggle and states that we should be masters of our destiny through empowerment programmes”.

    He added: “The President has got his powers in the draft and it is also important to note that the document is a victory for women”.

    In another, the Daily News (11/3) approvingly reported MDC national organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa telling party supporters in Kuwadzana, Harare yesterday that the draft “is a product of the MDC”, claiming, “ZANU PF was actually against the draft charter”. NewsDay (11/2) reported Tsvangirai as having made similar claims at a rally in Karoi.

    Chamisa urged Zimbabweans to vote for the draft on the basis that the new constitution “gives free education to primary schoolchildren and gives women access to power and authority” (Daily News, 11/3).

    NewsDay (11/3) reported Chamisa telling the same gathering to support the draft because it had “good things like the Bill of Rights that is second to none on the African continent”.

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