GOVERNMENT has claimed that opposition parties are snubbing the free airtime offered by national broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and other local stations to campaign ahead of next month’s polls.
Briefing diplomats and foreign observer missions accredited to cover the country’s August 23 harmonised elections, Media, Information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Kindness Paradza said: “Our national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, has enough personnel to cover the elections. We have studio programmes for all political parties to take advantage of during these elections.
“The broadcaster has time for candidates, then for parties’ manifestos and then constituencies’ indaba. These are offered to political parties for free so that political parties give out their messages free of charge.”
He, however, told the ambassadors and observers that most political parties refuse to utilise the free airtime.
Citizens Coalitions for Change deputy spokesperson Gift Siziba, however, dismissed Paradza’s claims.
“I think the minister is the architect of disinformation. ZBC continues to be extremely partisan and continues to be the mouthpiece of Zanu PF,” he said
“At our rally in Beitbridge, the crew came early at around 8am and took pictures at the venue when the rally was starting at 2pm,” he said.
Independent presidential candidate Saviour Kasukuwere has indicated that it is difficult to hold a free and fair elections as his campaign billboards have been vandalised.
Opposition political parties in Zimbabwe have always accused Zanu PF of getting the lion’s share of ZBC airtime.
Addressing the same gathering, Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Frederick Shava said all diplomatic missions were free to cover the elections.
“All observer missions and diplomatic missions are welcome to cover the elections and I wish to underscore that you are free to make your observations and recommendations in an impartial manner. I assure you that we have nothing to hide as we have conducted free and fair elections before,” he added
Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told the diplomats that election-related cases before the courts might have affect the timely printing of ballot papers. — NewsDay