THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has begun a recapitalisation programme to equip it ahead of next year’s elections.
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
ZBC, long accused for its partisan coverage of issues in the country, has in the last few years failed to timely cover news events, as staffers were forced to share the meagre resources at their disposal.
The corporation this week advertised a tender for an unspecified number of cameras, camera accessories, generators and roofing material.
According to the advertisement, the tender will close on February 8.
ZBC acting chief executive, Patrick Mavhura was not immediately available for comment about the planned acquisitions.
However, media analysts were sceptical about the move, saying it could be preparation by the government for a propaganda blitz ahead of the general elections.
Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe chapter director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya said while the replenishment of the equipment was welcome, there was a danger it could be abused in a partisan manner during the forthcoming elections.
“I suppose they are simply replenishing their obsolete equipment and stocking for additional TV station(s). And with new equipment, they will obviously be ready to cover elections. This would have been met with jubilation, were it not that ZBC is partisan and only serves the interests of the ruling party (Zanu PF),” he said.
Ngwenya’s sentiments were echoed by Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum acting chairman, Njabulo Ncube.
“As far as we are informed, ZBC is technically broke. We wonder where the money is suddenly coming from, when the parent ministry is also reeling from a severe financial squeeze due to inadequate funding from Treasury,” he said.
Ncube said the acquisition could be in readiness for the 2018 general elections propaganda.
“With the crisis at ZBC, one would have expected it and its handlers to prioritise making public the ZBC audit, as well as appoint a substantive chief executive. The cameras are for perpetuating propaganda when there are serious ethical and professional issues to be addressed,” he said.