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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Daily Election Report - Issue 3
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
July 18, 2013
the state-controlled national broadcaster, ZBC, today was President
Mugabe’s address at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza where he
attacked the MDC-T for being corrupt, and working with the West
to effect regime change in the country.
Only SW Radio Africa among the private radio stations gave prominence
by MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti that a “military junta”
had taken over the running of ZEC operations in order to influence
the outcome of the July
31 harmonised elections. The other stations gave this news much
- The electronic
media carried 26 election-related stories in their main evening
news bulletins today. [Party activities 15, election administration
issues five, and six political violence stories].
- Of the 15
stories they carried on political party activities, ZBC broadcast
eight, and the private media aired seven. The five stories on
the administration of the election broadcast by these media were
distributed evenly, one apiece, between ZBC, SW Radio Africa,
Studio 7, Star FM and ZiFM.
- ZANU PF’s
party campaign activities received a total of 16 mins and 45 secs
on ZTV’s main evening news bulletin, compared to just two
minutes of negative coverage for the MDC-T, and one minute 07secs
for the smaller MDC party. Is this “equitable” coverage
by the national public broadcaster? Another day that the Electoral
regulations governing the conduct of the media during elections
have been ignored.
- Only SW
Radio Africa and Studio 7 reported three cases of political violence
in six reports.
fighting talk dominates ZBC
public broadcaster, ZBC, continued to provide undiluted, biased
and favourable coverage to ZANU PF activities while giving minimal
coverage to the activities of its coalition government partners,
the MDC-T and MDC-N.
ZBC (ZTV [four]
& Spot FM [two]) carried six reports on ZANU PF campaign activities
and one apiece on the MDC-T and MDC N.
private radio stations ZiFM and Star FM aired three ZANU PF campaign
stories between them.
SW Radio Africa
also carried two stories on the political parties’ campaign
activities; one on a ZANU PF rally in Chipinge where its candidate,
Enoch Porusingazi, was reported warning the public against voting
for MDC-T, while the other only focused on the death of a woman
in a stampede at President Mugabe’s Chitungwiza rally. It
all but ignored Mugabe angrily attacking the West for being the
architects of regime change.
But Studio 7
did report Mugabe’s comments, and also carried a story on
independent presidential candidate, Kisinoti Mukwazhe.
two reports on the MDC formations were both presented in a way that
discredited the MDC-T.
ZTV reported the MDC’s Professor Welshman Ncube ruling out
a coalition with the larger MDC-T party saying, “his party
will not go into a coalition of convenience with a party that does
not have a national agenda.”
Ncube was speaking
at the launch of his party’s 2013 campaign in Chikomba.
ZTV’s other report selectively quoted ordinary people criticising
Prime Minister Tsvangirai for allegedly mocking the police force
at a rally in Masvingo. But it ignored all other aspects of the
Of all the electronic
media, only SW Radio Africa picked up news of the possibility of
the African Union holding an urgent meeting this Friday to discuss
Zimbabwe’s election preparations as revealed by President
Mugabe at his Rudhaka Stadium rally the previous day in Marondera.
But even they didn’t make the connection between the AU meeting
and the organization’s responsibility, together with SADC,
as guarantors of a credible election that the coalition partners
signed up to under the GPA.
belligerent attack on the West and the MDC-T at ZANU PF’s
Chitungwiza rally yesterday (Monday), received wide coverage on
All the media also reported the death of a woman at the rally after
ZBC presented the large turn-out as a reflection of the President’s
popularity, but only SW Radio Africa reported that ZANU PF youths
had forced large sections of the local community to attend the rally.
ZTV and Spot
FM both reported Mugabe castigating the West for trying to effect
regime change in the country and exploit the country’s minerals.
He was reported
urging people to vote for ZANU PF, which had the peoples’
interests at heart, and criticised the MDC-T for corruption and
causing widespread suffering by calling for sanctions against the
three other ZANU PF rallies around the country, including one in
Chinhoyi addressed by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo,
campaigning for ZANU PF’s aspiring candidate, Philip Chiyangwa,
pledging to “parcel out” 2000 residential stands before
the July 31 elections. This was not considered a blatant act of
vote-buying by the national broadcaster.
media continued to highlight the administrative and logistical chaos
that characterised the special voting process that that started
on July 14 and officially ended at midnight on Monday.
In its five
stories on the topic the electronic media reported that countless
numbers of people had failed to cast their votes due to late delivery
of ballots to their centres.
ZBC carried one report while the remaining stories appeared in the
SW Radio Africa reported MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti claiming
at a press conference that a military “junta” was interfering
in the operations of ZEC and “of taking over the running of
7 & SW Radio Africa all quoted Biti criticising ZEC for its
lack of readiness to conduct free, fair and credible elections,
and accusing ZEC of unlawfully extending the special voting to Tuesday.
Star FM quoted
ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau admitting there were problems
printing ballot papers but said the electoral body would ensure
that those who failed to vote would get the opportunity to do so
on July 31.
on the administration of the election included comments from the
head of the SADC election observer mission Bernard Membe, saying
if elections are conducted in a free and fair environment SADC would
accept the results (ZiFM).
The public media
did not report any incidents of political violence. It only carried
three reports quoting President Mugabe, church leaders and the Muslim
community encouraging political tolerance and peace ahead of the
Only SW Radio
Africa and Studio 7 reported three cases of harassment and intimidation
of MDC-T supporters by ZANU PF supporters and war veterans.
SW Radio Africa reported Chief Karakadzai Madhuku of Chipinge South
and ZANU PF official Enoch Porusingazi threatening people with violence
if ZANU PF loses the elections.
Studio 7 reported
suspected ZANU PF activists attacking the home of MDC-T parliamentary
candidate for Muzarabani on Sunday.
In recent weeks
the electronic media have introduced current affairs programmes
discussing election-related issues.
ZTV (16/7) carried
two current affairs programmes called, The Manifesto and Melting
Pot between 6pm-9pm.
The Manifesto, featured Evans Sagomba of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and
Kelvin Kasosera of the Zimbabwe Patriotic Movement, who spoke of
their parties’ plans for the country.
featured MDC-T youth assembly secretary, Promise Mkwanazi, and Zimbabwe
Youth Action Group Secretary Tafadzwa Mugwadi who discussed the
role of the youth.
Spot FM has
also introduced a programme, Today in Politics, which runs every
day from 6.30 to 7pm to discuss activities happening ahead of the
ZIFM had two
current affairs programmes during their 6-9pm programming:
The Agenda discussed women’s participation in elections and
featured MDC-T Deputy Women Affairs Minister Jessie Majome and MDC-N’s
aspiring legislator for Harare Central, Helen Muthlanga.
show was called X1G that featured the director of the Election Resource
Centre, Tawanda Chimhini, talking on youth participation in the
ZTV and Star
FM continued to air unidentified political advertisements that discredited
the MDC-T party and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The origins of
the adverts are not stated, nor are they clearly identified as advertisements;
a violation of the Electoral Law (for details see MMPZ’s earlier
ZTV also continued airing the MDC-T advert entitled, “Its
time for more”.
ZiFM flighted an advert sponsored by Women Trust that urged women
to go and vote.
report for Wednesday, July 17th, 2013
Electoral Commission’s failure to complete the special early
voting exercise for the uniformed forces and civil servants who
will be on duty on Election Day was the main focus of all the newspapers
Both the public
and private media reported that the Commission had failed as a result
of plots to undermine its efforts to conduct the exercise successfully.
The main sources
of information for the private media’s stories emanated from
the MDC-T leadership, principally its president Morgan Tsvangirai
and its secretary-general Tendai Biti, while The Herald’s
“conspiracy” story appeared to emanate mainly from “sources
close to developments” accusing the MDC formations of attempting
to wreck the process in order to force a postponement of the main
Only The Herald
reported that ZANU PF had quit the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee (Jomic), set up under the Global Political Agreement,
reportedly as a result of the abuse of the organization’s
assets by the two MDC formations.
But while these
stories dominated the headlines, most reports in all the papers
were about the various political party campaign activities.
- The print
media carried 30 stories related to news about the harmonized
elections, to be held on July 31st.
- Of these,
16 (53%) were contained in the private newspapers, NewsDay and
The Daily News.
- The remaining
14 appeared in the state-owned daily, The Herald.
(63%) of the 30 stories were on party political campaigns, while
the remaining 11 were issues related to the administration of
- In addition,
the private papers carried three advertisements, two from Prime
Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC party and one from a civic group,
Trust, urging women to vote for female candidates.
PF enjoys positive publicity
THE Press carried
19 reports on the campaign activities of all the parties, 11 (58%)
of which appeared in the private Press: Daily News (nine) and NewsDay
The official daily, The Herald published the remaining eight.
Of the eight
stories The Herald carried on party activities, four were on those
of ZANU PF, while three were on Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s
MDC party. The remaining one was on the smaller MDC formation, led
by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube.
As is now usual,
all the reports on ZANU PF were positive, while those on the MDC-T
MDC-N was mostly reported in the context of discrediting Tsvangirai
and his party. In this case, The Herald published an opinion piece
by Peace Thabane defending Ncube’s refusal to form a ‘grand’
coalition with Tsvangirai against Mugabe. Thabane argued that if
Ncube had joined the MDC-T he would have run “the risk of
undermining his principled position of dissociating himself from
violence, corruption and all the other vices associated with MDC-T”.
The MDC-N leader
would have joined “an entity he clearly demonstrated harbours
everything that is undemocratic and violent”, Thabane claimed,
adding, “If he joins this coalition with a dirty history,
Ncube will have a difficult job reasserting himself as a principled,
non-violent and democratic leader”.
news reports on ZANU PF’s campaign activities were cut from
the same cloth.
senior ZANU PF officials, including Mugabe, boasting that ZANU PF
was the only party with solutions for Zimbabwe’s problems
and amplified comments by these officials vilifying the MDC-T and
its alleged Western masters.
The Herald reported Mugabe accusing the West of trying “to
use opposition political parties and non-governmental organizations
to effect regime change but failed”. The President made these
remarks while addressing thousands of ZANU PF supporters at a “star
rally” at Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza.
The Herald reported
Mugabe accusing the MDC-T and NGOs of “trying to portray Zimbabwe
as a violence-riddled country” ahead of the elections. Mugabe
mocked the MDC-T mantra of “change” saying it was “impossible
to change the fact that they were Zimbabweans”, adding that
“all the noise Western countries were making about Zimbabwe
was because they no longer had direct access to the country’s
In contrast, the private papers’ coverage of party campaigns
remained inclusive, reporting senior officials from both ZANU PF
and the MDC-T expressing their policies.
also gave platforms to smaller parties such as the MDC formation,
led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, and the newly formed party
Alliance Khumbula Ekhaya (AKE), to articulate their positions.
up its previous day’s report on Mugabe’s revelation
that the African Union was due to meet on Friday to discuss Zimbabwe’s
election preparations. It reported that the MDC formations and SADC
were unaware of the meeting. It quoted Lindiwe Zulu, international
relations adviser to the South African president and SADC facilitator,
Jacob Zuma saying, “I do not know about the summit….Maybe
it was discussed at presidential level, but the norm is that SADC
has to be in the picture, which they do not seem to be.”
out for ZEC
Prime Minister Tsvangirai, civic organizations, such as Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and some political analysts, over
the chaotic manner in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
handled the special early voting process dominated the private papers’
coverage of the administration of Zimbabwe’s July 31st vote.
were contained in six (86%) of the seven reports the private papers
carried on administrative issues.
one was on the reiteration by the ZANU PF arm of government that
foreign observers would not be allowed to observe Zimbabwe’s
Both the Daily
News and NewsDay reported the MDC-T claiming ZEC had lost control
of the elections to State security agents as it emerged that uniformed
forces were, at some centres, still casting their ballots as special
voters by early yesterday (Tuesday), several hours after the cut-off
time, in violation of electoral laws.
Press conference in Harare, MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti
said his party would make a High Court application to contest the
validity of the exercise and approach SADC citing a litany of electoral
ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and some of the commissioners
of wrongdoing, but castigated some members of the secretariat whom
he said were disregarding directives handed down to them.
(ZEC officials) are now taking instructions direct from the junta,”
Biti said, but did not produce evidence for this claim.
Morgan Tsvangirai echoed these comments at a campaign rally in Gokwe,
saying that ZEC had deliberately bungled the special voting so as
to rig the main election results.
“They failed to handle 80,000 voters in two days — how
can they be expected to handle six million voters in one day?”
that ZEC’s failure was not by coincidence. He believed the
“artificial” shortages of special voting ballots had
been created after ZANU PF realized that the police, whom they had
thought would vote for them, were actually going to vote for the
accused ZANU PF of bussing its youths in to vote as police officers
at the Mount Pleasant Hall polling station. But Tsvangirai also
didn’t provide evidence for his claims.
The Herald also attributed the chaos that characterized the special
voting process to a plot as well. Only the paper blamed the MDC
formations who, it said, were trying to force a postponement of
the national election.
In its front page report, ‘Plot to scuttle polls flops’,
The Herald claimed the chaos that characterized the special voting,
which officially ended on July 15th, “has been attributed
to an intricate plot by the MDC formations, working with some elements
in ZEC, to scuttle harmonized elections…”
the daily however, the plot failed “after it was unearthed
and a raft of interventions to neutralize it to ensure the harmonized
elections proceed as scheduled were adopted”.
The paper reported
“sources close to developments” as having said “after
unsuccessfully pursuing all possible avenues to delay the polls”,
from lobbying SADC, to flooding the courts with applications, the
MDC formations “had turned to the AU and wanted a failed special
vote to strengthen their hand” ahead of a special summit set
for July 19th.
This story was
part of four reports The Herald carried on problems that affected
ZEC’s special voting.
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