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Eye on ZBC – March 2013
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
April 26, 2013
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economic woes grab the headlines
Reports on the
poor state of Zimbabwe’s economy and efforts being made to
turn the situation around received significant attention on the
national broadcaster, ZBC, in the month.
Among the indicators
of economic stress were reports of labour unrest in the civil service
and parastatals; increase in the cost of fuel, which also triggered
other hikes across other sectors of the economy; poor performance
of state enterprises, and cash-flow problems at some tobacco auction
floors in Harare. Although ZBC gave widespread coverage to Zimbabwe’s
economic ills, it did not holistically address the causes of this
poor state or provide practical solutions to address the situation.
Debate on the
matter was restricted to promoting the Zanu-PF arm of government’s
sentiment blaming ‘illegal’ Western sanctions for the
economic tailspin, while touting the party’s crafted policies
such as the controversial black empowerment programme and the Look
East policy as the antidote to the problem.
while the national broadcaster presented the indigenization programme
as a panacea for economic growth, it did not balance this with concerns
by various stakeholders about the way the programme is being implemented,
which they feel discourages investor confidence.
In one report,
ZTV (4/3, 8pm) simply reported “economic activists”
commending Mugabe for insisting that Zimbabweans should form consortiums
to wholly control the economy.
Among the activists
were Zanu-PF Director in the Department of Indigenisation and Empowerment
Kurai Masenyama and Upfumi Kuvadiki Communications Manager Privilege
Gwiba, who were reported saying the empowerment drive “is
just the first step towards achieving 100% shareholding by indigenous
Zimbabweans in blue-chip companies”.
Mugabe’s appeal for “indigenous people” to organize
themselves into groups and form companies to participate fully in
the mainstream economy (ZTV, 4/3, 8pm).
He made this
call while speaking at the 21st February Movement celebrations in
Bindura on March 2nd. The President reiterated that he wanted to
see Zimbabweans being owners of the means of production than being
ZTV (9/3, 8pm) reported Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere
repeating his threats that “no bank will be spared under the
coverage of the cost of living and its effects on ordinary Zimbabweans
was more considered. It blamed the rise in the cost of public transport
and other goods and services on the recent fuel hike by government,
reportedly effected as a way of raising money for forthcoming harmonized
elections (ZBC, 11/3, 8pm).
broadcaster, for example, carried critical reports on the way public
transport operators had allegedly taken advantage of the increase
in the price of fuel to fleece the commuting public.
In one of the
reports, ZTV (29/3, 8pm) reported rural and urban commuters appealing
to government to “stop the wanton increase of fares by unscrupulous
bus operators”, with rural commuters accusing transport operators
of hiking fares just before the Easter holidays “to capitalize
on desperate travelers”.
appealed to the relevant authorities to “come to their rescue
and put in place measures to curb the exorbitant fare increases
which further erode their meagre incomes” (ZTV, 29/3, 8pm).
One of the travelers
was quoted: “We are having transport problems because they
have hiked fares. Some have trebled and we do not have such kind
of money. We are saying government should look into the issue and
even bring back ZUPCO buses”.
The fares were
reported to have doubled, with buses travelling to Gutu charging
$20 up from $8, Bulawayo buses charging between $15 and $20, while
those plying the Murehwa route had increased the fare from $3 to
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