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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Eye on ZBC – June 2013
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
July 10, 2013
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glosses over problems in ZANU PF primaries
broadcaster (ZBC)’s mandate as a public broadcaster came into
question again this month over the grossly partisan manner in which
it covered the activities of Zimbabwe’s main parties.
coverage of the recent primary elections by the country’s
top two political parties was severely biased against the MDC-T,
while the station gave widespread, favourable publicity to its rival
This was reflected
in the 51 stories the national broadcaster carried on the party
activities of the coalition parties in the month. Of these, 32 appeared
on the sole national television station, ZTV. The remaining 19 appeared
on the national radio station, Spot FM.
Forty of the
51 stories were on ZANU PF’s primary elections, while the
remaining 11 were on those of the MDC-T.
the 11 reports on the MDC-T were negative. The stories were on alleged
infighting and intra-party violence, as well as claims of candidate
imposition, lack of transparency and democracy, and chaos in the
selection of candidates in the party.
Seven of these 11 reports were on intra-party violence in the MDC-T.
In one such case, ZTV (14/6, 8pm) reported the alleged petrol bombing
of a home belonging to MDC-T activist Ernest Banda in Highfield,
Harare, on June 14th, in “a suspected case of intra-party
ahead of the party’s primary elections” on June
15th. The station reported National Police spokesperson Senior Assistant
Commissioner Charity Charamba confirming the case and indicating
that initial investigations were pointing to a case of intra-party
(6/6, 8pm) carried “more reports” of MDC-T intra party
violence. These included a “wrangle” between aspiring
MDC-T MP candidates Ezra Sibanda and Mark Moyo. The broadcaster
quoted Charamba confirming the case, saying the “assault”
occurred at Makepesi Business Centre in Lower Gweru where Joblin
Moyo attacked a female MDC-T member Modrick Gwainda, accusing her
of supporting Sibanda.
story (26/6, 8pm) reported the arrest of three MDC-T supporters
for “public violence” in Manicaland. The three, Patrick
Sagandira, Lovemore Chifomboti and Moses Ndowa, allegedly assaulted
supporters of aspiring MDC-T National Assembly member for Makoni
Central, Grace Kwinje. In contrast, ZBC’s coverage of ZANU
PF’s primary elections was lauded as having run smoothly,
with aspiring candidates and their supporters in the “revolutionary”
party upholding “discipline” and “loyalty”
to ZANU PF and its leadership (ZBC, 2, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,
21, 25, 26, 27/6, 8pm). The station reported ZANU PF candidates
as having heeded to calls for peace from their leadership, while
the conduct of primary elections itself was resoundingly “successful”,
“smooth”, and “violent free”.
made no reference to reports of chaos, violence, and protests by
some aspiring ZANU PF candidates and their supporters against favouritism,
the imposition of candidates, and alleged manipulation and rigging
of the votes as reported elsewhere in the private media during the
Among the reported
victims of the ZANU PF intra-party fighting were Mashonaland Central
Governor Martin Dinha, who is said to have withdrawn from Bindura
South primaries because of an alleged attempt on his life; Henrietta
Rushwaya due to alleged threats from Shuvai Mahofa; and Esau Mupfumi,
under unclear circumstances. The private media also reported on
the controversial disqualification of some ZANU candidates such
as Sharon Mugabe, and Marian Chombo, allegedly at the behest of
her former husband Ignatius Chombo.
some of these problems resulted in some aspiring ZANU PF candidates
and their supporters lodging appeals and staging demonstrations
at their party’s provincial and national headquarters, while
others such as Marian Chombo threatened to stand as independents
in the upcoming elections if their grievances were not dealt with.
ZBC also censored
reports that the actual voting in the ZANU PF primaries was fraught
the station made no reference to reports that ZANU PF’s voters’
roll was ditched in some constituencies, allowing anyone with an
ID to vote (SW Radio Africa, 26 & 27/6).
ZBC also downplayed
ZANU PF’s failure to conduct its primary elections in one
day as planned, due to serious logistical challenges, which included
the late arrival of ballot papers and boxes in some areas, resulting
in voting starting as late as 4pm (SW Radio Africa, 25/6).
national broadcaster flooded its audiences with positive, and mostly
banal reports, about ZANU PF’s primary elections, disguised
as national news.
This was reflected
in stories such as ZANU PF digests recommendations (2/6, 8pm); ZANU
PF tackles key issues (13/6, 8pm); ZANU PF sets out primaries rules
(14/6, 8pm); No imposition of candidates: SK (15/6, 8pm); ZANU PF
candidates submit CVs (15/6, 8pm); Mash Central welcomes primaries
guidelines (15/6, 8pm); Let not primary elections divide us: VP
Mujuru (16/6, 8pm); ZANU PF completes candidates nomination (17/6,
8pm); ZANU PF vets candidates (18/6, 8pm); Politburo endorses candidates
(19/6, 8pm); No to infighting, ZANU PF told (21/6, 8pm); ZANU PF
primaries postponed (21/6, 8pm); ZANU PF primaries re-scheduled
to Tuesday (23/6, 8pm); Midlands goes to the polls (25/6, 8pm);
Voting opens in Mat South (25); ZANU PF extends primary elections
(25/6, 8pm); ZANU PF bigwigs win primaries (26/6, 8pm); ZANU PF
primaries results start tricking in (26/6, 8pm); ZANU PF's final
list of candidates (28/6, 8pm).
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