GABORONE – Botswana Congress Party (BCP) president, Dumelang Saleshando has cast aspersions on the credibility of the forthcoming Zimbabwean elections.
The Gaborone Central MP was part of a pre-election assessment from Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) that travelled to Zimbabwe recently.
He said the ideals of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and reforms in the media have not been achieved in Zimbabwe.
“The media in Zimbabwe is polarised along political lines. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is the only television station in the country and conducts itself as Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) propaganda unit.
The private press is also polarised along political lines. There are government owned private newspapers that cover only ZANU-PF positively. There are also other private newspapers that cover everything other than ZANU-PF,” said Saleshando.
He decried the fact that the security forces have not remained apolitical nor respected the political process as required under GPA. “That has not been done. Military officials continue to make political statements. The good part is that unlike in 2008, there is no violence.
But there are reports of intimidation and not open violence,” he said. He was happy that though the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is viewed with suspicion, the main players think it has an element of credibility.
He said the registration process especially in urban centres was characterised by long queues and this could affect the results. “In my view, the environment is not conducive for credible polls but the problem is not of the same magnitude as in 2008,” he said.