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Politicians steering violence — ZEC

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The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has urged strict enforcement of a code of conduct for politicians to prevent them from uttering inflammatory statements that incite violence.

Speaking during a meeting between ZEC and executives from different media houses yesterday, participants said the media must play a critical role to expose politicians who make inflammatory remarks.

ZEC chairperson Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe said: “Violence is on everyone’s lips in this country, it’s topical. We all condemn it for various good reasons. It can bring death to a lot of people, it can hamper development, and it has many repercussions.”

ZEC Commissioner Professor Geoff Feltoe said something needed to be done to stop politicians from inciting violence.

“Politicians are steering trouble by making utterances that are inflammatory. What should the media do? Equally we need to address the issue of the code of conduct for politicians not to engage in processes that lead to trouble,” Feltoe said.

“We have laws that make it a criminal offence to incite violence. The laws attempt to rein in politicians that see it fit to do that. . . . We have to tackle it with a code of conduct.”

Alpha Media Holdings Editor-in-Chief Vincent Kahiya said it was the duty of the Press to expose politicians who incite violence by writing about them.

“It’s a very difficult thing which we have been skirting around as a country without a clear position,” Kahiya said.

“If a politician says something nasty, do we hide that information from the public so that they don’t know the dark side of the politician? As a journalist, I will report it so that the public sees how nasty the politician is. As the media, we write and comment on those things but for me to sit down and say I will not write that, will be a travesty of my role as a
journalist.”

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