WASHINGTON DC —
The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations have dismissed an announcement Wednesday by the state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers Group that it will carry advertisements for all political parties contesting this year’s elections two weeks before the polls.
The two parties argue that the newspaper group which publishes The Herald, The Manica Post and The Chronicle newspapers and several others could have done more to ensure all political parties are given equitable space to sell their election manifestos.
Zimpapers board chairman Paul Chimedza said the decision to allow political parties two weeks of advertising before the polls was in accordance with the country’s electoral laws.
Former parliamentary media committee chairman, Settlement Chikwinya, said Zimpapers and all other private media houses are not obliged to publish political adverts but must extend the same opportunity to other political parties once they decide to do so.
Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC said the two-week window is not enough for all the political parties that registered to participate in this year’s elections.
“If you then say you are only providing space within a period of two weeks, you are not going to afford everybody the critical space that they want,” Dube said.
Spokesman Douglas Mowonzora of the MDC formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said his party does not care about that because they were never covered by Zimpapers anyway.
“For the past years we have never been covered by Zimpapers, so we are carrying on with our campaign without Zimpapers."