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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Daily Election Report - Issue 21
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    August 04, 2013

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    ZBC drums up support for elections

    The national broadcaster, ZBC, flooded its news broadcasts with reports on regional and some international observers endorsing the controversial July 31st national harmonized elections, resoundingly won by President Mugabe, while discrediting critics of the electoral process, particularly Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.

    This was reflected in 13 (87%) of the 15 stories ZBC’s main evening television and Spot FM radio news bulletins carried. The remaining two were on the announcement of the presidential election result by ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau.

    After the announcement of the results, ZTV’s Reuben Barwe interviewed Tsvangirai’s election agent Obert Gutu, who refused to sign off the form certifying acceptance of the results by all competing parties because his party “will not legitimize this monumental fraud. The refusal symbolizes the MDC’s total rejection and total contempt of the farce”.

    “To us it’s actually a joke, the joke of the decade…My President Morgan Tsvangirai made it very clear that this election is a sham, a farce, this election is null and void”, the former Chisipite Senator said.

    The EU head of delegation, Aldo Dell’Ariccia was also quoted on ZTV saying, “The European Union takes note of the announced results of elections in Zimbabwe and the assessment of SADC and the AU. It would like to thank both organizations for the positive role they played in the run-up to the elections and throughout the electoral process”.

    Speaking at the same occasion, ZTV also quoted Mugabe’s election agent, Emmerson Mnangagwa, saying: “I feel very, very happy that the process has gone as expected. I am very happy to be representing my principal R.G. Mugabe”.

    In an attempt to emphasise the extent of support for the elections, ZBC saturated the bulletin with comments from a variety of Zimbabweans, as well as regional and some international observers, all endorsing the polls as free, fair and credible.

    Among them were Zanu-PF and its allies, as well as traditional leaders, churches, the SADC Parliamentary Forum observer mission, the Namibian observer mission, and the COMESA observer mission.

    In one report, ZTV quoted the head of the Namibian observer mission, Peya Mushelenga, urging the MDC-T leader to “accept the outcome of the polls and respect the will of the people”.

    According to ZBC, Mushelenga’s remarks followed Tsvangirai’s refusal to meet the SADC high-level observer team on August 2nd.

    Mushelenga told ZBC that, “acceptance of the results by a losing opponent is a virtue for a real statesman and will earn him the respect of Zimbabweans, the region and Africa as a whole”.

    Said Mushelenga: “We are saying to Mr Tsvangirai you should accept the will of the people, they voted and the reality is that the will of the majority should be respected”.

    Mushelenga noted that Zimbabweans had conducted themselves with maturity and high levels of discipline.

    ZBC also reported the COMESA observer mission expressing satisfaction with the country’s polls, saying they were held in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

    Addressing journalists in the capital this morning, the leader of the Comesa observer mission, Bethuel Kiplagat urged the political leaders to continue with the same spirit of tolerance and to pursue legally established channels to resolve any disputes that may arise in relation to the outcome of the elections.

    ZTV also covered a Press conference by Tsvangirai at his Highlands home, where he declared that his party would soon challenge the election results in court, which he claimed were rigged by Zanu-PF using state machinery.

    ZTV reported Tsvangirai indicating that his party had resolved to exhaust all legal means available to seek justice, but ironically “castigated the same courts he will be approaching saying the recent appointments of the judges a few days before the elections was unconstitutional, hence his party has no faith in them”.

    Tsvangirai added that his national executive had decided that all its winning candidates would not participate in any national institutions, which included Parliament, as doing so would be endorsing an illegitimate outcome.

    Asked whether an MDC-T victory would be the only result that would prove the credibility and fairness of Zimbabwean elections, “the outgoing Prime Minister was evasive and maintained that his party had tonnes of evidence to prove that the elections were rigged”, ZBC reported.

    The private radio stations also reported Zanu-PF and other parties, and regional observers, expressing their views on the elections.

    In addition, they reported some sections of the international community expressing serious concern over the manner in which the elections were held.

    Studio 7, for example, reported the US complaining that the election results announced by ZEC “do not reflect the will of the people”.

    In a statement, the US State Department said the people of Zimbabwe should be commended for rejecting violence and showing their commitment to the democratic process.

    “But make no mistake. In light of substantial electoral irregularities reported by domestic and regional observers, the United States does not believe that the results announced today represent a credible expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people”, read part of the statement.

    The statement indicated that although the US was prevented from monitoring the elections, “the balance of evidence indicates that Saturday’s announcement was the culmination of a deeply flawed process”.

    It added: “There were irregularities in the provision and composition of the voters’ roll. The parties had unequal access to state media. The security sector did not safeguard the electoral process on an even handed basis. And the government failed to implement the political reforms mandated by Zimbabwe’s new constitution, the Global Political Agreement, and the region”.

    This statement was contained in one of the 11 reports the private radios carried on the elections.

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