By Luke Tamborinyoka
The High Court ruling that the Zimbabwe Newspapers and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation were biased in favour of Zanu PF in their coverage of the 2018 election vindicates the MDC position that the last plebiscite was rigged.
Apart from the machinations of ZEC, which astonishingly revised downwards its own figures three times before announcing a fudged poll result, the ruling by the High Court simply casts aspersions on the credibility of the 2018 election.
In a ruling delivered on Wednesday, the High Court ruled that during the 2018 elections, Zimpapers and ZBC, the biggest media houses in the country, conducted themselves in a manner that was in breach of the Constitution. The High Court ruled that the two media houses were not impartial.
It is profound that the High Court said the two media houses failed to comply with the Constitution, which demands that they afford equal and impartial coverage to all contesting candidates and parties.
The MDC has been calling for a comprehensive reform agenda, including media reforms, to ensure that Zimbabwe’s elections are vaccinated from the errant behavior of national institutions that brazenly support Zanu PF in violation of the national constitution.
The High Court thus vindicates the MDC position, in particular its RELOAD document whose signposts to legitimacy include political pressure, genuine and sincere dialogue, a national transitional mechanism, a comprehensive reform agenda and free and fair elections.
ZBC and Zimpapers are national institutions that must simply comply with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. They must provide fair and equal coverage to all contesting parties. In the last election, Mr. Mnangagwa and Zanu PF were accorded unfettered coverage while the MDC and its leader, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, received scant coverage, if at all.
It is our firm belief that the public media failed to discharge their mandate. This hugely contributed to the illegitimate 2018 election which perpetuated the country’s vicious cycle of disputed elections.
The 2018 election then bred an illegitimate outcome and an equally illegitimate leader. The unfortunate net result of this compounded illegitimacy is the current economic crisis and the attendant power, fuel, and cash shortages, among other national challenges.
The MDC believes in a return to legitimacy as the only prudent way forward. Such legitimacy can only be achieved through a free and fair election.
The party will unstintingly follow its roadmap that will be ignited by peaceful political pressure until a free and fair election is held.
It is only a legitimate government that can begin to prudently transact the people’s business in a manner that will positively transform the lives of ordinary citizens.
Luke Tamborinyoka is the MDC Deputy National Spokesperson