Zim Media Commissioner Fears Violence Will Mar Elections

Takaona was speaking at a Radio Voice of the People facilitated workshop on the coverage of 2011 elections if they are held.

“Many Zimbabweans are resisting the elections because of the violence that usually accompanies elections in Zimbabwe” said Takaona.

Both Takaona and a political analyst, Professor John Makumbe, who also addressed the same workshop, called on media practitioners to “name and shame” perpetrators of political violence.

“Go after them, expose them and traumatise them,” Takaona told workshop participants. “There is a lot of hate speech, intrusion into privacy and grief. As a commission we find this earth shattering.”

Meanwhile Afro Barometer field officers are being harassed by Zanu (PF) politicians and supporters over anti-President Mugabe public survey results.

“Our findings have been challenged, mainly by supporters of the Zanu (PF) supporters and in certain areas they have tended to threaten our field workers, because there is suspicion that they are being sent by the opposition party,” said Afro Barometer Southern African Development Community region Outreach manager Mxolisi Sibanyoni.

Afro Barometer is an independent, on-partisan research instrument that measures the social, political and economic atmosphere in Africa.

A recent poll by the Mass Public Opinion Institute showed that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Morgan Tsvangirai was more popular and trustworthy than his counterpart President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF).

“The Zimbabwean government has been very critical of the findings mainly because it records the views of the public. Like many governments when opinions do not favour the government, it tends to be critical and this has been the same situation here,” he said.

But a former researcher from the institute, Anyway Ndapwadza said the same political parties critical of the findings of the polls run by the Institute came back in private to demand the results.

“We see them knocking our doors asking for the full research results so that they go back and amend the anomalies we would have highlighted, despite disputing the results in public. They come and ask us where we are in terms of our political support and which areas are we needed most.”