HomeNewsNCA takes ZBC to task over ‘biased, unfair coverage’

NCA takes ZBC to task over ‘biased, unfair coverage’

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The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has been taken to task by the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) over the biased and unfair coverage in the ongoing parliamentary by-election campaigns in Chirumanzu-Zibagwe and Mt Darwin West.

By Phyllis Mbanje

The NCA has since written to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), complaining that Zanu PF candidates were getting uncensored coverage on the national broadcaster, while the opposition parties have never received any single coverage.

NCA spokesperson and national adminstrator Madock Chivasa called on Zec to ensure fair access to the public broadcaster by all candidates.

“We are contestants in the same by-elections. In their biased coverage, ZBC announces Zanu PF candidates without even making any effort to mention the names of our candidates or even their political parties,” he wrote.

Chivasa accused the national broadcaster of being a “mouthpiece of one political party and openly displaying blatant bias without any moral sense whatsoever” .

The NCA, which has fielded candidates in both constituencies, said ZBC was also allowing uncensored hate speech from Zanu PF officials to be screened.
They made reference to the speech by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa in which he called opposition parties “mhandu” (enemies).

“He (Mnangagwa) unashamedly said ‘Pasi Nemhandu’, an utterance that we interpret and believe to mean that ‘Get rid of your enemies’,” Chivasa said.

Calling it a violation of the Constitution, he said such speech would easily incite and degenerate into unprecedented levels of political violence.

The Lovemore Madhuku-led NCA said they were not amused by the mispronunciation of the names of their candidates by ZBC which, four weeks on, has not rectified the error.

“This has prompted us to reach the conclusion that there is a deliberate attempt to undermine us as NCA party through disenfranchising our party candidates,” the NCA administrator said.

On being contacted for comment, Zec chairperson Rita Makarau confirmed receipt of the NCA letter of complaint, saying the matter was being investigated.

“It is before the media monitoring committee and will be addressed accordingly,” she said.

No comment could, however, be drawn from ZBC public relations officer Gladman Bandama whose mobile phone was unreachable.

The Mt Darwin West seat fell vacant after the legislator for the constituency, former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, was removed from government, while National Assembly Member for Chirumanzu-Zibagwe Mnangagwa was elevated to be Vice-President, leaving the seat vacant.

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