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Zimbabwe Government Failing to Meet Power-Sharing Terms - Monitors

  • Ntungamili Nkomo

The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee set up by Zimbabwe's unity government to assess fulfillment of the 2008 power-sharing agreement by all parties to it, said this week that there has been a disturbing resurgence of hate speech and abusive language published or broadcast by some private as well as state-controlled media.

The Global Political Agreement underpinning the unity government stipulates that "the public and private media shall refrain from using abusive language that may incite hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred or that unfairly undermines political parties and other organizations." It engages Harare to take "appropriate" steps toward this.

The monitoring committee, known as JOMIC, said the media is harming national cohesion by using inflammatory language. It said in a statement that it has written to the three principals in the unity government urging them to appoint the members of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission which replaces the unpopular Media and Information Commission.

Outgoing committee co-chairman Elton Mangoma of the Movement of Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told VOA the committee is deeply concerned at the hate speech emanating from state-run media, particularly the Herald newspaper.

The MDC has complained that the Herald denigrates Mr. Tsvangirai and the MDC while giving news space and overwhelmingly favorable coverage to ZANU-PF viewpoints. But Mangoma told VOA that the statement was endorsed by all JOMIC members, including ZANU-PF.

The non-governmental Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe says certain private media outlets have also stepped up their use of abusive language.

Media Monitoring Project Senior Researcher Edson Madondo told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that if it such excessive language continues to circulate in the media this will threaten the longevity of the power-sharing government.

Elsewhere, a civil society group monitoring compliance with the Global Political Agreement has cited numerous violations of the power-sharing pact, in particular new farm invasions.

The Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism established by a number of leading civic groups early this year says such invasions are on the rise while no land audit is taking place.

The group also noted the continued stalemate over the 2008 appointments to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Office of the Attorney General by President Mugabe, who has refused to replace Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana, respectively.

The report cites human rights violations including the shooting of three mineworkers in Zvishavane, Masvingo province, and police demands to question Tsvangirai MDC Security Director Chris Dhlamini over political violence charges lodged with the attorney general.

Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism Spokesman Dzimbabwe Chimbga told reporter Patience Rusere that the new government is far from adhering to its own framework.

More news from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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