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Electoral Body Concerned by 'Inflammatory' Language use Ahead of Polls

  • Irwin  Chifera

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says it is concerned by the use of inflammatory and controversial language by political parties, candidates and the media ahead of the July 31st national elections.

The commission said in a statement Monday it is investigating a number of complaints from across the political divide on the use of inflammatory language and hate speech.

ZEC said political players in the country and the media must avoid language that incites conflict and violence.

VOA has it on good authority that most of the complaints were from Zanu PF and the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai against private and state media respectively.

MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti said the party is worried no steps are being taken to curb what he says is hate speech in some sections of the media, in particular the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.

The Electoral Act, particularly Section 1J, compels the media to treat all political parties and candidates equitably but so far that has not been reflected in the way they are covering the political campaigns ahead of July 31.

The latest daily election report by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe shows the ZBC has been censoring coverage of MDC-T rallies while its reports are heavily biased in favour of Zanu PF.

The report says some sections of the private media were also biased against Zanu PF.

Director Ernest Mudzengi of the Media Centre in Harare says the problem of hate speech can be tamed if the culprits are brought to book.

He told VOA politicians are the chief culprits and their co-operation is key in resolving the problem.

Meanwhile as preparations for the polls gather momentum, the Public Service Commission has started mobilising government vehicles to use during the elections.

Mariyawanda Nzuwah, chairman of the Public Service Commission, in a statement Monday directed all heads of ministries to surrender trucks with carrying capacities ranging from one to 10 tonnes for at the CMED and public service provincial and district offices around the country.

The vehicles are required to transport election personnel and elections materials to all parts of Zimbabwe.

Nzuwah requested the Zimbabwe Republic Police to impound vehicles that would not have been surrendered by Wednesday.