STATE broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) yesterday blocked all political parties’ adverts while awaiting the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to wind up its nomination process.
REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER
ZBC chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere said the public broadcaster was following the legal route in dealing with political advertisements ahead of elections and would only start doing so after Zec was done with the relevant process.
This came as MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai complained that his adverts urging Zimbabweans to register to vote had been rejected by ZBC.
Muchechetere said: “If they received a letter, they should not rush to say their advert was rejected. This is not a dip-tank. We have regulations that we follow.
We are under the guidance of Zec and if Zec informs us that they are finishing today we will carry their adverts as long as they comply with our own requirements.
“We are going to give them all they want. They should not stampede us into doing anything unprocedural. The law says that if their adverts are rejected, they appeal to Zec. If they want to come back with their advert, even tonight if Zec is done, they should. People should stop being overzealous and want to create a mountain out of a molehill.”
He added: “The Zanu PF adverts they are talking about were before the proclamation of the election date, after that, there was nothing. Even Zanu PF is fuming the same way the MDC is fuming, but we are following the law.”
In a letter to Tsvangirai dated June 28, ZBC indicated it was unable to run the MDC-T advertisement as it was not yet cleared by Zec.
His spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed receipt of a letter from ZBC.
“In the letter there is mention of political adverts, but this one was a politically colourless advert in terms of partisanship and bias. It was an advert by the Prime Minister to urge Zimbabweans to vote and by that time there were Zanu PF adverts on ZTV. Clearly those adverts were sponsored by Zanu PF,” Tamborinyoka said.
The move by ZBC also came at a time Zimpapers, another State-controlled media outlet yesterday also indicated it had resolved that all political advertising will be published in its newspaper stable during the last two weeks before polling day.
Zimpapers chairman Paul Chimedza, himself a Zanu PF candidate for Gutu South, said: “The company had taken that decision to safeguard its business interests.”