Thursday, 5 July 2018

BZA Statement: "...the process [observing printing ballot papers] was null and void"


ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] are presiding over a ballot printing process that has NOT been legitamately observed by the opposition parties taking part in the 30 July Elections. This also included EU Observers!

What was observed however, was obfuscation and opaqueness in the extreme. Questions about the process went unanswered and the observers were not permitted to see the process in the same room, they were not allowed to observe a sample. What 'fraud' is being perpetrated in this ballot paper printing process that the ZEC Official was so intent to conceal?

Dr Noah Manyika's missive finished with this statement:

 "According to our representative and contrary to reports published in the official press, the general sentiment of party representatives at that point was that the process was null and void and that none of the stated purposed of the tour had been accomplished"


Full Press Release from BZA
So where can Zimbabwe go from here? This flagrant breach in the duty of the ZEC cannot be left unanswered.


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Zimbabwe's Fake Elections - emerging from the Chaos

Despite promise after promise, and despite the "thumbs up" from the UK Ambassador to Zimbabwe [funny - who is being transferred to Nigeria in November!], Zimbawe's 'highly suspect' Electoral Process is full of gaping 'holes' - even though the apologists keep claiming that it will be Free, Fair and Credible!

Take this survey from www.sivioinstitute.org
"Confidence with the Electoral Process" [Full results HERE]
""We asked respondents if they are satisfied about the preparations being made to ensure that the elections are free and fair. The majority 72.49% are not convinced that the elections will be free and fair. Through a question that allowed for multiple response, we asked them why they think that the elections will not be free and fair. They cited many reasons as per figure below.""
Fig 5: Answers to "why these elections will not be Free and Fair"


Figure 5 Confidence with the Electoral Process
The majority 68.3% do not trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the agency responsible for running elections and there are some (56.79%) who feel there was need to carry out all outstanding electoral reforms before holding elections.

SO let's recap: 72.46% of the respondents are not convinced that the Elections will be Free and Fair.

AND 68.3% do not trust the ZEC - the body organising the Election Process.

 But let's not just listen to a survey shall we? What about 'Electoral Resource Centre' director Tawanda Chimhini, Concerning the Press Conference held on Monday 18th June by the ZEC Chair: >

Addressing journalists in Harare, ZEC chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba, said political parties had "no choice, but to participate in the July 30 polls and raise their complaints later as the election date cannot be changed."

 Tawanda Chimhini said: “For lack of a better word, it is very tragic. If ZEC is preparing for an election, it should prepare for a free and fair election, not one that will be challenged.

“Refusing to share details on the voters’ roll, refusing inspection of the voters’ roll so that people can give feedback is an admission that ZEC does not want any form of oversight and accountability. It shows the election commission is not ready and serious about running national elections.
Chimhini added: “How can they prepare to go for an election that will be contested? What is the rush? What type of an election are they preparing to run?
“We went to court and obtained a court order for them to release the voters’ roll used for inspection, but ZEC has defied a court order because it wants to run an election without accountability.

“An election should not be an election for the sake of an election. The dispute surrounding the 2013 polls was pertaining to the voters’ roll and we are repeating the same mistake. If they can tell us today that this is the final voters’ roll without having been inspected; then they can as well tell us that this would be the final results and we have nothing to do about it.”
Well there you have it - an election that is acknowledged to be highly suspect and with many flaws - by the population, the opposition and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission itself!

Added to that are the overt media bias from TV and Newspapers in Zimbabwe - who only write negative articles about any opposition to the ruling party [ they see themselves as RULERS as opposed to LEADERS - which in itself tells a story.]

Furthermore, the skewed Ward system which gives undue electoral advantage to the sparsely populated rural areas - the peoples of whom, are in turn the 'victims' of the ruling party's intimidation tactics - to induce voting for the ruling party. This intimidation is carried out by so called 'Zanu PF "Youths"' [ages up to 55!] and the Army - which the ruling party seems to bestow far too much due deference to - in fact some say that the Military are in fact in control.



This highly irreverent cartoon shows the [retired] Army General - (now Zimbabwe's Vice President), working Mnangagwa (Now President, after a de facto coup d'├ętat in November 2017 and Mugabe's right hand hench  man for 37 years) who in turn is pulling the strings of the ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] Chairwoman - about whom we have been discussing above.

 The likenesses are surprisingly very accurate!

Source: ANON



 At the end of the day the Elections in Zimbabwe will be a sham, but who will do anything about it?
As in 2008 there was a de faco coup d'├ętat, and in 2013, the Elections could not be classified as Free and Fair.

So in effect we have AN ILLEGAL [MILITARY] DICTATORSHIP, with a so called "ruling party" not democratically elected, calling the shots to re-elect itself. 

Well that will be free, Fair and Credible then - won't it?

TRAGIC - is the word, as stated above.



Friday, 11 May 2018

How can Zimbabwe, so Rich in Mineral Resources, be so Impoverished?

""Zimbabwe’s economy is characterized by instability and volatility, both of which are hallmarks of excessive government interference and mismanagement. Massive corruption and disastrous economic policies have plunged the country into poverty. An inefficient judicial system and general lack of transparency severely exacerbate business costs and entrepreneurial risk. The government will likely adopt desperate short-term measures to stave off economic collapse, possibly including a unilateral de-dollarization that would reopen the door to hyperinflation, further crippling the private sector and severely undermining macroeconomic stability.""
Source: www.tradingeconomics.com

""Zimbabwe’s economic freedom score is 44.0, making its economy the 174th freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has not changed, with significant improvements in scores for the trade freedom and judicial effectiveness indicators exactly offset by a plunge in fiscal health. Zimbabwe is ranked 44th among 47 countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.""

Source Of both Quotes:Heritage Foundation

GDP Downturn

The graph above needs further explanation. In 2008 the Military [a de-facto Coup d'etat] over-turned a 75% election win  by the MDC opposition and created a "Government of National Unity" [sic] . In practice this had Tendai Biti from MDC as Minister of Finance - who very rapidly turned the fiscal situation around - by basically curtailing suicidal Government Spending. However, too often the "Office of the President" [Mugabe] would limit or over-rule his sensible actions.

Therefore the growth from 2008-2011 is initiated by MDC's Mr Biti - but by 2012 the old "habits" of profligate patronage and corruption are starting to take effect.

The vote rigging in 2013 made sure the Zanu PF once again took full control. The Graph clearly indicates the folly and general incompetence of their economic policies.

Additionally intimidation, political violence, Human Rights Abuses, Torture and corruption took hold once again - and to this day are continuing, with only the briefest respite when Mugabe was removed by a de-facto Coup d'etat in November 2017.

Free and Fair Elections?

In an attempt to win the 2018 election, Zanu PF and their new imposed "President" Mnangagwa is spending a reported $200m on his campaign with massive posters all over the capital. Also a propaganda "Charm-Offensive" and the slogan "Open for Business" are being widely marketed both domestically and internationally.

Unfortunately there is little evidence of an independent media in Zimbabwe. The only TV Channel is run for the benefit of the regime, and only reports on negaitive aspects of any of the opposition, The same is true of several of the newspapers - particulalry the overtly partisan Herald.

Free and Fair Elections have been promised, but delivery of this promise is very hard to find. The media is still partisan, the Zimbabwe Electoral Comission is still partisan, The Military is still partisan, the Judisiary is still partisan - in fact nearly every organ of Government and Nationalised Industry is partisan. Additionally the 2013 Consitution is being breached by partisan legislation designed to maintain an unfair advantage for the regime.

With Elections scheduled just a few months away Free, Fair and Credible voting is not possible.


Sunday, 6 May 2018

Indifference to the People's Desperate Needs

Taken from Raw and Unfiltered Perspective

Self-Inflicted Death Throws of Zanu PF

Indifference to the people's desperate needs, indifference to the people's pain and suffering is what will pen the political demise of the willfully clueless unelected Zanu pf coup leadership at the helm of the republic.

I am not sure if his utterances and ill conceived decisions are symptomatic of an adverse reaction out of abuse of ambi and ponds which maybe have gone past the skin to his brains, It is imperative that General Chiwenga and his installed project Mnangagwa be guided accordingly so that they are fully aware of what the true owners of the republic, the general populace are capable of doing with their vote because being continually mocked by these two that Zanu pf will rule forever because they are entitled to doing so by virtue of their liberation credentials is not only sickening but insulting in view of the naseous mess we are currently festering in, a product of nearly four decades of gross mismanagement of the economy, corruption, entitlement and unchecked looting by the said and their fellow Zanu pf comrades.

For the record General Chiwenga seems to be ill informed, he is not aware that we cannot continue to salute politicians who are doing nothing for the general populace nor anything to develop the republic save for looting national resources. So that liberation war talk is stale, it is way outdated beyond its shelve life, it holds no clout, it is irrelevant because it does not put food on ordinary people's table and the so called liberation gains he constantly refers to have not translated to the nation so we have absolutely no reason to celebrate ill gotten personal gains since it has nothing to do with the national development but personal gains for a select few.

May our Coup installed General Chiwenga be reminded that the people of this republic do not owe him or his assistant Mnangagwa any apologies and also be reminded that he is in for a rude awakening if he continues thinking that Zanu pf is going to be ruling forever because they are not, as a matter of fact this year will be their last call as a ruling party and will soon be the opposition.

My brothers and sisters, do not be intimidated by anyone claiming special privileges or access to national resources without being accountable to any checks and balances while evoking immunity for their ill calculated actions or any misdeeds primarily because they have a claim to being a freedom fighter or revolutionery. This has been abused so much that, it doesn't scare us anymore, it is of no relevance to the challenges, needs and dictates of this generation.

Opposition

My take is having lived under the harsh realities of a Zanu pf led government's failed economic policies and brutality, they foisted upon a people is no different than fighting a war and surviving in a war zone where daily you fight for survival, scraping for a living, trying hard, fighting to defend your own freedoms and liberties from a repressive regime hence being revolutioneries and freedom fighters by virtue of that war we are still waging, a nearly four decades long war of survival.

The grim reality of living under a Zanu pf regime has not only been atrocious but depressingly heart wrenching and traumatic, that is why it is imperative for Zanu pf to leave our political diet to allow a people to heal as soon as they are served their electoral packing orders. Not only will it be therapeutic but a very well deserved rehabilitation and national healing from the wounds of the brutal repression and a sustained denial of workers and a people's rights.

Should there be any benefits to be qualified for, I am glad to say that the whole country will qualify for it because we are all revolutioneries and freedom fighters waging a war against a system of dictatorship taking away workers rights, stealing national resources, intimidating workers and citizens from expressing their need for a better standard of living. Having suffered for nearly four decades and still fighting a social political revolution, for a better standard of living and opportunities being hoarded by a rogue regime for selective access to a few kin of the corrupt politicians, we the general populace are the true freedom fighters and revolutioneries fighting a corrupt and repressive system, a military dictatorship.

We are All Freedom Fighters Now

Always remember my brothers and sisters that you are a revolutionery and freedom fighter by your own merit, in your own right because fighting a repressive system, poverty daily, nursing a wounded will to carry on under draconian laws, enduring inhibitive government sponsored terror, anguish and inhospitable conditions, living under a repressive Zanu pf regime intolerant to dissent, calls for resilience, it requires a special set of survival skills and the will to continue to survive without any hope in sight.

That fighter instinct in you, that revolutionery in you, that freedom fighter you are, has carried you in torrid conditions to today, so let no one have such an antiquated claim like Chiwenga's utterance that he will forgive us for not having fought the liberation struggle, its nothing to be proud of, when all there is, is falling in to the hands of tyranny and dictatorship.

We owe no one nothing but have been robbed and stripped of our dignity as a people for the last three decades and eight years in counting by the same thieves now wanting us to salute them without question, no, we wont because we the people are the true freedom fighters and revolutioneries fighting for the change we deserve from a system holding us hostage under the beluef that we owe them a lifetime of debt for their liberation participation.

It is now time to cut off the umbilical of entitlement and unfettered access to national resources by a few political thieves and their military cohorts.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

NOTHING TO CELEBRATE ON INDEPENDENCE DAY IN ZIMBABWE



-  To hell with 38 years of fake Independence
-  To hell with 38 years of Dictatorship
-  To hell with 38 years of Empty promises about jobs
-  To hell with 38 years of Forced Occupation
-  To hell with 38 years of Insults and Demeaning
-  To hell with 38 years of Vote Rigging and Manipulation of Election Results
-  To hell with 38 years of Suffering
-  To hell with 38 years of Murders
-  To hell with 38 years of Looting
-  To hell with 38 years of Corruption
-  To hell with 38 years of Nepotism
-  To hell with 38 years of Poverty
-  To hell with 38 years of Hunger
-  To hell with 38 years of Torture
-  To hell with 38 years of Unemployment
-  To hell with 38 years of No Freedom after Speech
-  To hell with 38 years of Racism and Tribalism
-  To hell with 38 years of Propaganda
-  To hell with 38 years of Poor Governance
-  To hell with 38 years of Partisan of Food Distribution
-  To hell with 38 years of Militarized ZEC Institution
-  To hell with 38 years of Militarized Zimbabwe Government
-  To hell with 38 years of Deployed Militaries in Rural Areas

Zimbabwe isn't Independent under Mnangagwa's Government but Inde-Pendence without Democratic Freedom and we Democrats, we are still fighting for Zimbabwe's Independence and Freedom.

Fellow Democrats, let's keep on putting more immense political and socio-economic pressure to these ruthless thuggish heartless Zanu-Pf hooligans until we bring the Democratic Freedom that our brothers and sisters fought for.

INDEPENDENCE DAY should we celebrate?

  1. Hospitals are closed
  2. Banks have no cash
  3. Almost everyone is jobless
  4. There is Cholera everywhere.
  5. No drinking water in towns.
  6. Potholes everywhere.
  7. Where is Dzamara?
  8. We have an unelected president.

why should we celebrate, ko kungoti gore rino we are not celebrating

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Zimbabwe: Diaspora Right to Vote

Zimbabweans: Diaspora Right to Vote

The massive exodus of Zimbabweans from their mother land to other countries far and near was as a result of the ZANU PF regime breaching the main components of the Human Rights Act and the 4th chapter of the constitution, part 2 of the declaration of rights.

These include;
"The Rights to life,
The Rights to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,
Freedom to demonstrate or petition" etc.

This is evidenced by the number of people who died of men made poverty, the general public and activists who disappeared. Some died for exercising their rights to freedom of choice, expression and their rights to vote freely and without fear.

The rights to life  were not guaranteed to many Zimbabweans, over 4 million Zimbabweans fled the country and are living abroad. During this very long and winding period of collapsed economic and political conditions, the Zimbabweans abroad rescued the Zimbabwean economy by regularly sending money, medical equipment, medicine, vehicles, clothing and food groceries to their families and friends. The diaspora played a very important role and even now, the diaspora are the bread winners of many families who remained home.

For 2 decades many Zimbabweans fled the country to seek refugee in other countries for different reasons and most may not be in a position to travel home, also the diaspora sustained the economy of Zimbabwe during this period. Due to the reasons above and many others, Zimbabweans abroad have been crying out and seeking to influence the government to allow the diaspora to vote from where they are currently based and be part of the decisions made for their mother land. Surprising enough, the government don't seem to welcome the idea and yet they are happy to receive every form of support from the diaspora.

Most democratic countries allow their citizens abroad to vote from the countries where they now live. So, with Zimbabwe is it about asking the diaspora to give and to support in all aspects of life and yet the government does not acknowledge and does not want to give anything back to its citizens? Where is democracy my country? Why are you breaching the Human Rights laws - the citizen's rights to vote? Why are you choosing to ignore the Section 67 (3) of the constitution which states that "Every Zimbabwean citizen who is of or over eighteen years of age has the right to:
a) - Vote in all elections and referendums to which this constitution or any other law applies, and to do so in secret; and
b) - Stand for public office and, if elected to hold such office".

The above request by the diaspora to be allowed to vote from abroad, especially after having a major player in sustaining the economy for almost 2 decades is a clear test to the restoration of Human Rights and a Free, Fair and Credible elections in Zimbabwe.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Free & Fair Media Coverage in Zimbabwe - Fat Chance

THE Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA Zimbabwe) has reported President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) asking the regional body to push Harare to reform the state media before this year’s elections.
"The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA Zimbabwe), by virtue of this letter, humbly seeks to draw your attention on the above-mentioned matter highlighting the lack of progress in media reforms in Zimbabwe."
In a petition handed to SADC’s executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, at his Botswana offices last Monday, MISA said there won’t be free and fair elections if the new government did not reform the public media which has, since independence, been biased towards Zanu PF.
“Before and after the 2013 general elections, concerns were raised about the public broadcaster’s highly partisan coverage of the ruling party to the exclusion of opposition political parties and other dissenting voices and views,” said the petition.

MISA said most of the reforms Harare continued to ignore were also raised by the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM) after the 2013 harmonized elections.

“Five years later, the Zimbabwean government is still to implement the envisaged media reforms. This indeed is cause for great concern, especially in light of the fact that Zimbabwe is expected to hold general elections sometime this year,” said MISA. 

"MISA-Zimbabwe respectfully submits that Zimbabwe’s government has the obligation and responsibility to implement the reforms in question without any further delays. This obligation arises from the country’s Constitution as well as regional instruments such as the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance,” said the regional media watchdog.
 Laws such as the BSA, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), along with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), still contain provisions, which indisputably violate fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information. The protection of these fundamental rights is key to a robust democratic media environment.
Opposition political parties have since formed an alliance called the National Electoral Reform Agenda [NERA] through which they are lobbying government to institute a cocktail of electoral reforms which among them include equal access to the public media.
MISA also said journalists should not be subjected to double accreditation as mandated by statutory bodies like the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission during elections.
“The requirement that a journalist who is already accredited with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), needs further accreditation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), for election-related coverage, is unnecessarily cumbersome, bureaucratic and an unnecessary drain on the fiscus.
“The media cannot cover elections properly when it cannot access relevant events and places by virtue of not being accredited by ZEC. The purpose of laws or regulations on media and elections - and the function of a regulatory body - is to create an environment in which the media conducts their business freely.
Elections are not state secrets to be investigated by dedicated investigative journalists. Instead they should be conducted openly and freely. The fundamental guiding principle here being that, journalists as duly and constitutionally accredited by the ZMC, should be given unfettered access to all election- related events,” said MISA.
Regarding the Safety and Security of Journalists MISA said:
While 2017 saw a marked decline in the number of cases involving media violations; the severity of the nature of the violations was of great concern. MISA-Zimbabwe recorded the unlawful arrest or detention of seven (7) journalists in 2017. In the same year, MISA Zimbabwe recorded the assault of eight (8) journalists during the course of their duties.
In their report The State of Media Report Zimbabwe, MISA introduce the document with this summary:
In his inauguration speech on 24 November 2017 following the ouster of former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he would ensure the pillars of democracy are strengthened and respected in Zimbabwe.

At face value, these remarks can be interpreted as realisation that during his 37-year hold on power, former president, Mugabe, failed to strengthen the pillars of democracy despite the coming into existence of the much acclaimed 2013 Constitution which was expected to open a new democratic dispensation in Zimbabwe.


In saying that, President Mnangagwa was not off mark. As the year came to a close in 2017, laws such as the discredited Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), used to license and regulate the media; the Official Secrets Act (OSA), to broadly embargo information held by public bodies and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), to hinder free establishment of private radio stations, remained entrenched in the country’s statutes.


Other restrictive laws include the Public Order and Security Act, Censorship and Entertainment Controls Act (CECA), and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. This should also be viewed against the government’s accelerated efforts to introduce the cybercrime laws, generally perceived as intended to curb free speech online.


These laws essentially curtail citizens’ right to freedom of assembly and association, demonstrate and petition, including the right to freedom of conscience, as provided for by Sections 58, 59 and 60 of the Constitution as well as Sections 61 and 62 which protect the right to free expression, media freedom and access to information.



Full Letter below:
12 March 2018

Dear Dr. Stergomena,

UPDATE ON ZIMBABWE MEDIA REFORMS AS SET OUT IN THE 2013 AFRICAN UNION ELECTIONS OBSERVER MISSION RECOMMENDATIONS


The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe (MISA Zimbabwe), by virtue of this letter, humbly seeks to draw your attention on the above-mentioned matter highlighting the lack of progress in media reforms in Zimbabwe.

After the 2013 general elections, the African Union Election Observation Mission (AUEOM), made recommendations on improving the state of the media in Zimbabwe. These recommendations complement the media rights enshrined in Zimbabwe’s Constitution, which was gazetted shortly before the 2013 elections.

Five years later, the Zimbabwean government is still to implement the envisaged media reforms. This indeed is cause for great concern, especially in light of the fact that Zimbabwe is expected to hold general elections sometime this year.

MISA-Zimbabwe respectfully submits that Zimbabwe’s government has the obligation and responsibility to implement the reforms in question without any further delays. This obligation arises from the country’s Constitution as well as regional instruments such as the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance.

It is with this in mind, that we humbly seek to draw your attention to the following issues of concern:

Need for alignment of media laws with the Constitution

Zimbabwe’s Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe and any law, practice, custom or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid to the extent of the inconsistency. Despite this clear position, government has been reluctant to institute meaningful changes to deal with inconsistencies, which currently exist in laws, which affect the media environment in Zimbabwe.

In its 2013 observation, the “AUEOM took cognisance of several interlocutors’ views that fundamental freedoms may be curtailed should there be no further review of the provisions of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the POSA and the manner in which they were being implemented.”

Laws such as the BSA, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), along with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), still contain provisions, which indisputably violate fundamental rights to privacy, freedom of expression and access to information. The protection of these fundamental rights is key to a robust democratic media environment.

Partisan reporting by the public broadcaster
Section 160J of Zimbabwe’s Electoral Act states that during an election period, broadcasters and print publishers must ensure that all political parties and candidates are treated equitably in their news media. This position is reiterated in Article 17(3) of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which calls for the state broadcaster to provide a balanced platform for all competing parties and alternative voices.

Before and after the 2013 general elections, concerns were raised about the public broadcaster’s highly partisan coverage of the ruling political party to the exclusion of opposition political parties and other dissenting voices and views.

This state of affairs informed the AUEOM’s recommendation that: The ZEC scrupulously enforces the relevant regulations of the Electoral Act to afford alternative voices and all political parties equitable access at all times during elections.

The AEUOM emphasised the public broadcaster’s central role in elections, as a platform for airing political messages from all political contestants. Five years on, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has not made any tangible efforts to ensure that political parties will be treated equally and equitably during this year’s election period.

The AUEOM’s 2013 observation that the national broadcaster tended to provide live and in-depth coverage largely to a single political party remains true to this day. The bias exhibited by the public broadcaster and state-owned media establishments, has contributed to a highly polarised media environment in the country. The AUEOM observed that both private-owned and state-owned media establishments were evidently politically inclined in their reportage.

MISA-Zimbabwe respectfully submits and urges for the urgent transformation of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), into a truly independent and representative public broadcaster.

Liberalisation of Radio and Television Ownership
In its report on the 2013 elections, the AUEOM recommended that:

The provisions of the BSA be fully implemented to enable the liberalisation of radio and television ownership, thereby providing a broader platform for all stakeholders to voice their opinions, consistent with the stipulations of the new Constitution. The involvement of civil society and other actors in the review of the legislation such as the AIPPA and POSA and the manner in which they are applied will also enhance the country’s progress toward democratic consolidation.

However, the government is still to license community radio stations. While licenses have been granted to national and regional commercial radio stations, however, the majority of these licenses were given to radio stations owned by state owned enterprises and those perceived as being politically connected.

Safety and Security of Journalists
While 2017 saw a marked decline in the number of cases involving media violations; the severity of the nature of the violations was of great concern. MISA-Zimbabwe recorded the unlawful arrest or detention of seven (7) journalists in 2017. In the same year, MISA Zimbabwe recorded the assault of eight (8) journalists during the course of their duties.

The majority of the cases of assault of journalists on duty were perpetrated by the police serve for three which involved army personnel and ruling Zanu PF youths.

Past experience shows that during an election year, media violations tend to rise and the likelihood of this happening ahead of the 2018 elections cannot be discounted. For instance, on 1 March 2018, some journalists were harassed at an MDC-T opposition party press conference.

MISA-Zimbabwe firmly believes that more needs to be done by the State and political parties to promote the protection of journalists as they cover election related events.

Dual regulation and or accreditation of journalists
The requirement that a journalist who is already accredited with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), needs further accreditation by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), for election-related coverage, is unnecessarily cumbersome, bureaucratic and an unnecessary drain on the fiscus.

Journalists duly accredited by the ZMC, should thus be allowed to cover election-related processes and events in the spirit and letter of the right to media freedom. Accreditation of journalists by the ZMC should suffice for election purposes.

The media cannot cover elections properly when it cannot access relevant events and places by virtue of not being accredited by ZEC. The purpose of laws or regulations on media and elections – and the function of a regulatory body – is to create an environment in which the media conducts their business freely.

Elections are not state secrets to be investigated by dedicated investigative journalists. Instead they should be conducted openly and freely. The fundamental guiding principle here being that, journalists as duly and constitutionally accredited by the ZMC, should be given unfettered access to all election related events.

Freedom of information entails, among other principles, that the media is entitled to investigate and report critically on the efficiency and probity of election administration. This is aptly provided for under Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution, which guarantees media freedom and access to information, respectively.

It is MISA-Zimbabwe’s hope that the above submissions will assist the AU and SADC missions to hold the Zimbabwean government to account based on its repeated promises to implement the long overdue media reforms.

This is of paramount importance and urgency ahead of the 2018 elections, which the government has repeatedly promised will be free, fair and credible.


Yours Sincerely,
Golden Maunganidze
Chairperson
MISA Zimbabwe

cc: His Excellency, Paul Kagame
Chairperson
The African Union

Cc: His Excellency, Moussa Faki
Chairperson
Commission of the African Union