Zanu-PF abused state resources to campaign, says electoral watchdog

A Zimbabwean voter shows his ink-stained finger after casting his ballot at a polling station, 30 July 2018. Picture: ANA

Zanu-PF also ‘benefited immensely from biased media coverage’, with no attempt ‘by ZEC to ensure media adheres to the electoral act’.

A Zimbabwean electoral support civic organisation, Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN), says Zanu-PF used state resources for campaign purposes in preparation for harmonised elections held yesterday.

“ZESN long-term observers reported a significant number of incidents of Zanu-PF officials using state resources for campaign purposes. The most frequent types of abuse were the distribution of food or agricultural inputs, the use of government vehicles and facilities for campaigning, and government officials speaking at campaign events,” ZESN said in its preliminary report released today.

ZESN trained and deployed more than 6 500 observers that were deployed to every ward, constituency, district, and province of the country as part of its effort to observe the 2018 elections.

The civic organisation also found that Zanu-PF benefited immensely from biased media coverage.

“The media fell short of fair, equitable and balanced coverage of political parties as it largely favoured established political parties. The nature of the coverage largely disadvantaged less established political parties who have not managed to get much media attention and have failed to take any offer of the advertising space. Fifty-three percent of the coverage was on Zanu-PF, 76% in state controlled print and 48% on ZBC,” the election watchdog said.

While media bias was noted, ZESN said, there was no observable attempt by ZEC to ensure that the media adheres to the provisions of the electoral act despite the existence of a media monitoring committee.

ZESN said the preliminary statement is based on reports from a statistical sample of 750 polling stations and “provide truly representative information on the conduct of voting and counting in near real time”.

African News Agency (ANA)

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

today in print

today in print