Home | National | MAZ Indaba: Mandaza Urges More Poll Scrutiny By Media

MAZ Indaba: Mandaza Urges More Poll Scrutiny By Media

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

By Nkosana Dlamini

Harare, September 06, 2017 – TOP publisher and academic, Dr Ibbo Mandaza has challenged the local media to begin questioning and analysing issues do with the country’s poll processes which he said remained meaningless if they continued to operate under the firm control of the country’s partisan military.

Giving a keynote address during the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) annual media stakeholders conference at a Harare hotel on Wednesday morning, Mandaza urged the scrapping of elections in Africa which he said were not a true expression of the people’s will.

He said elections in Africa have become a mode of “legitimisating the illegitimate” as incumbents “look to elections more than anything else” as the State has become a source of livelihood for those in power.

The Southern African Political Economy Series (SAPES) founder said it was regrettable that African governments have “institutionalised rigging”.

Mandaza said the recent Kenyan elections have greatly exposed African and western observer groups that were quick to legitimise a poll whose outcome was later overturned by the East African country’s Supreme Court citing massive poll fraud by the incumbent.

“The observer missions, like media, need to be overhauled,” Mandaza said, adding that the Kenyan debacle has taught citizens to observe the entire process of the electoral circle from registration, the campaign period, right up to actual polling.

“…We need to completely consider whether elections are necessary in our situation,” Mandaza said.

“The Kenyan situation has shaken the edifice and the media should be capitalising on that, there has been very little or no commentary on the elections…it’s a bold statement by the judges to say the election has been held contrary to constitutional provisions.

“Where was the media in Kenya, in Africa...”

Mandaza said Zimbabwean media should educate citizens on the nature and content of Zimbabwean politics and that of the state.

“We cannot have free and fair elections for as long as the state is not reformed,” he said.

“We need more and more skilled media personnel. When you read some of our papers these days, it’s shocking, not to mention media capture by politicians.

“You find contrasting headlines in a similar story and the media cannot be trusted by the public.”

The ex-top civil servants said Zimbabwe was a “securocrat state” which makes it difficult to have free and fair elections, worse still, when the headquarters of the electoral process continued to be domiciled at KG6.

“Without dismantling the securocrat state, elections are meaningless really, quite obvious," he said.

“Looking at that elections have been rigged since 2000, what is the meaning of elections then; why looking forward to this nonsense.”

Commenting about the political situation in the country, Mandaza said a Zanu PF faction that loses out in the current dogfight to succeed President Mugabe will likely make concessions with the opposition.

He said a GNU was imminent as politicians in both the ruling Zanu PF party and opposition may consider abandoning it for a ride in another GNU.

Mandaza said more scrutiny must be directed towards national institutions such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the judiciary. 

The theme of the MAZ conference is, “Strengthening the media’s role in fostering free, fair and peaceful elections in Zimbabwe and beyond”.


  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

No tags for this article

Rate this article