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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Daily Election Report - Issue 17
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    July 31, 2013

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    Print media report for Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Press offers Election Day advice

    If voters needed any guidance about who to vote for in today’s elections, there was plenty of advice on offer in all three daily newspapers this morning.

    Both The Herald and the privately owned NewsDay featured seemingly rational front-page comments advising their readers to “vote wisely”, but offering completely different solutions to Zimbabwe’s future. The Daily News also carried a convincing front-page editorial but was more forthright in its lead story entitled, ‘89 reasons why Mugabe must go’.

    Both The Herald and The Daily News most evidently reflected their political sympathies in the remaining news and opinion columns of their papers.

    For example in the 12 stories The Herald carried relating to the activities of the political contestants, five focused on disparaging Mugabe’s greatest threat, the MDC-T and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. This was reflected in stories such as, ‘MDC-T running scared’, ‘UMD rallies behind Mugabe’, and, ‘MDC-T faces massive backlash’, all of which wrote-off the MDC-T’s chances of surviving today’s election.

    By comparison, The Daily News carried an interview with Morgan Tsvangirai himself, and a “story” authored by the MDC-T leader in its “news” columns entitled, ‘Destiny is in our hands’. These were two of the 10 stories carried in the paper relating to political party activities.

    NewsDay’s five stories on the topic were mostly useful insights into Zimbabwe’s political future, as reflected in their headlines too. Stories such as, ‘D-Day for Tsvangirai, Mugabe’, and, ‘Will Mugabe or Tsvangirai accept defeat?’ provided readers with balanced and rational observations about the immediate prospects for Zimbabwe and the leadership of the country’s two main political parties.

    Of course, all the dailies reported Mugabe’s jovial eve-of-election press briefing at State House where his humour and willingness to answer any questions delighted the attendant journalists.

    But while the two private dailies picked on his welcome reassurance that he would “surrender power” if he is defeated in today’s elections, The Herald was more predictable; ‘President confident of emphatic victory’, declared its front-page lead story – one of six reports that bolstered Zanu-PF’s fortunes.

    And instead of sticking to the wealth of material offered by the President’s comments, the state-owned daily spoiled its story with unprofessional editorial intrusions to convince its readers of Zanu-PF’s dominance: “The president is widely tipped to romp to victory, with Zanu-PF grabbing a two-thirds majority” was the most notable example.

    Electronic Media Report - Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Mugabe’s press briefing gets the limelight President Mugabe’s State House media briefing on the evening before the harmonised elections topped the bulletins in most of the electronic media today. Notably though, the local private radio stations did not cover the event.

    While Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa focused on Mugabe’s reassurance that he would step down if he lost tomorrow’s election, ZBC’s television and Spot FM radio bulletins ignored this and focused on him commending Zimbabweans for the peaceful electoral environment and expressing his confidence that he would win the presidential race.

    ZTV quoted him saying “our chances are as good as the chances we had in 1980”.

    The public broadcaster also censored his remarks dismissing allegations of electoral irregularities that were reportedly intended to sway the election in favour of Zanu-PF.

    The two private overseas-based radio stations quoted Mugabe saying, “If you lose you must surrender to those who would have won. We will do so to comply with the rules”.

    Studio 7 also quoted Mugabe urging the military to respect the constitution and accept the presidential election results.

    Only SW Radio Africa reported the MDC-T press briefing held on Tuesday in Harare. It quoted party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora expressing confidence his party would win the election despite what he described as Zanu-PF’s intentions to rig it. This was one of four reports the station carried on the parties’ activities, which included Mugabe’s press briefing and follow-up stories on Zanu-PF’s and the MDC-T’s rallies in Harare on Sunday and Monday.

    ZiFM carried two campaign stories; one reporting Zanu-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo expressing his confidence of a sweeping Zanu-PF victory, while the other was a delayed report on the MDC-T’s final rally in Harare.

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