Chamisa court case broadcast commendable, but …

THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) deserves a pat on the back for allowing State broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to provide a live broadcast of proceedings on opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s presidential petition at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) on Wednesday, as this allows for all and sundry to closely follow the arguments, given the importance of the matter.

Editorial

However, given the capacity issues bedevilling the State broadcaster and general lack of trust in its impartiality, the JSC should have allowed the international media access to broadcast the events live without resorting to what will likely be a poor quality ZBC feed.

Experience has taught us that when covering parliamentary debates live, the ZBC has conveniently cut off feed when critical issues that put the establishment on the spot are being debated.

There is an uneasy feeling that the ZBC could once again “play games” at critical moments on this once-in-a-lifetime event.

ZBC has been accused in court papers of supporting Zanu PF, one of the interested parties and the temptation that they will cut off argument from Chamisa’s lawyers can be compelling.

For the need of establishing maximum transparency that will ensure long-term peace, some private broadcaster seen as neutral should be given the same right to broadcast live. If the case is not handled well in the court of public opinion, there is nothing that can rule out the possibility of violence after the court case because stakes are high.

Given that the JSC has okayed live broadcasting, had they refused to do so, it would have created the impression that there was something to hide, or that they would have joined hands with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to ensure that the public would never really know the whole truth of what transpired during the July 30 elections.

This is also important, considering that Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba, who will be in the grilling line, is part and parcel of the country’s judiciary system and they had been fears that the judges on the ConCourt bench would sympathise with her as one of their own.

The national broadcaster will distribute the live signal feed to other broadcasters who may be interested in covering the court proceedings live.

Chamisa’s petition is of national, if not international, interest. Most people in Zimbabwe and the Diaspora will likely closely follow the case as it has a bearing on their future.


There have been calls from various quarters to have live broadcasting and streaming of the matter for various reasons.

The live broadcasting of the proceedings is in the best interest of the country as it helps demystify some half-truths likely to be spewed by social media pundits bent on whipping people’s emotions to satisfy their own selfish political ends.

This will also be a demonstration that the judiciary is not embedded in Zanu PF, which is an interested party in this legal saga.

Transparency is very crucial for national security. The post-July 30 election violence that rocked the country and led to the death of seven people after soldiers opened fire in the crowded streets of Harare should provide a sharp lesson.

The post-election violence could have been avoided if the Zec had been acting in a transparent manner and avoid hiding behind the cover of national security.

Opposition political parties made several demands, ranging from the biometric voter register, disclosure on the number of ballot papers, a demand to have them tested, among others, but all these fell on deaf ears and the lack of trust that followed partly caused the post-poll chaos that led to needless loss of lives.

The live broadcast will also put judges under pressure to make pragmatic judgments, well knowing the world will be watching and this will be a positive move in the interest of justice.

But while the granting of ZBC is a noble idea, a lot could have been made to allow international media organisations to broadcast live the court proceedings.

ZBC has been accused in court papers of supporting Zanu PF, one of the interested parties and the temptation that they will cut off argument from Chamisa’s lawyers can be compelling.

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17 Comments

  1. You have said it all. ZBC will experience ‘technical errors’ whenever the regime is place in a corner. That, you can bet on.

  2. Taurai Emmanuel Maforo

    This is time for the national broadcaster to prove its efficiency to the whole world. Any cut in transmission will work against our high literacy levels. We have a high breed of geniuses in IT and Broadcasting, let us prove as such

    1. The geniuses are not employed at DeadBC but elsewhere. Professionals hardly last at enterprises that don’t practise professionalism. Mediocrity is the order of the day there hence poor sound & programming quality and one-sided unconfirmed, uninformed and uninteresting stories not worth paying a license fee for…

  3. Foreign foreign !!!! Newsday , you want to discredit our ZBC which you complained was covering Zanu PF and not Chamisa . If they are of poor quality you should then not complain for having not covered anyone since they are as bad as you now portray . If you think you can do better , offer your service and not tell us about foreigners coming to cover our courts .It should be ZBC and ZBC alone .

    Newsday is censoring me because i have made a comment that touches the newsday . .

  4. Munhu anonetsa maichemera kuti the court case live on tv and u.ve been granted that now makuti hee zbc haiite kkkk ma mdc u are so funny, hamuzive zvamunoda and if anything doesn’t go yo way munototi ndezve zanu,

    1. Precisely @jhood! This publication doth complain too much. Its so corrupted by oppositional politics that it is no longer a stand-alone entity but now neads MDC Alliance politics to lean on. Why should we need foreign news agencies in our internal courts when our own news agencies are never invited to cover internal cases in foreign courts? We are not at The Hague International Court.

  5. Comment…Zbc stands for Zanu broadcasting corporation. However live broadcasting will no change the judgement as all judgements made in open courts are open to scrutiny and are not ‘rigged’. Newsday is trying to remain relevant as we wont need to read it for the judgement, yeah the live broadcasting is not in the interest of Newsday, poor Newsday..

  6. I do not see much depending on Zbc coverage. The evidence dzekuti mwana anogona akabatwa zvisingarambike achibirira mu text book during exam. Kweshen ichizova yekuti mwana anogona uyu opasiswa hake here ZAMA racho. Kana sabhuku vanogona kupao mutongo kwao.

  7. I do not see much depending on Zbc coverage. The proof of alleged doping shall be undenial, and this shall necessarily affect credibility of athlete’s freshly broken world record .

  8. What a foolish suggestion that, International Broadcasters should have been mandated over the ZBC to cover the proceedings! The slurs on the JSC too confirm the overdue need for decolonization of thoroughly instituted colonial genes received from thoroughly apartheidised genealogies.

    Where have you seen this happen anywhere else in the world? Where has the AU, SADC or Zimbabwe been invited to monitor election proceedings for approval of fairness elsewhere in the world? That the AU, SADC and African States permit this to happen to them is shocking! Shackles of enslavement, apartheidisation and patronisation accepted by foolish mindsets!

  9. Mnangagwa should do the honorable thing and accept defeat. The margin of his ‘victory’ is too narrow to withstand the amount of doubt that Zec’s ‘corrections’ are inviting. at the end of the day anosara nei? At the rate at which the ‘corrections’ are coming, by wednesday morning he will be sitting on 30% or less. Zvaramba ngwena.

    1. hw ironic ED has 50% as t stands, Chamisa has 44 even pa runoff ED anongoda a few percentages Chamisa need 6% +, while expectin ED to get zero
      so who shld resign, Chamisa asina majority mu parliament or ED wt majority,

  10. Timothy Thorton

    “However, given the capacity issues bedevilling the State broadcaster and general lack of trust in its impartiality”, Always ungrateful

  11. Patriotic Zimbabwean.

    MACOURTS ACHAZARA zanu pf irikuzarirwa mumajeri nekuti mbavha nemhondi ndokwadzizere come wednesday kutanga kumukuru wavo

  12. It will also be live on CNN.

  13. Comment… zbc isn’t worth to be trusted, let it be as it was during voting where by pvt medias had the rights to broadcast

  14. Wezhira Wezhara

    ” …If the case is not handled well in the court of public opinion, there is nothing that can rule out the possibility of violence after the court case because stakes are high..”

    What sort of reporting is this? Are we awaiting a public opinion verdict here or we want a legal verdict? You are inciting violence just like what you used to do in the past. We do not want laymen’s verdicts but a court verdict. Please spare us Newsday.

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