'Political parties welcome to advertise on ZBC'

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s (ZBC) chief executive, Happison Muchechetere has said ZBC will be guided by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) on election coverage.

According to a judgement ruled in favour of Harare man Jealousy Mawarire by the Constitutional Court, the elections should be held by July 31, bringing an end to the shaky coalition between the two MDCs and Zanu PF.

Many people have lost confidence in ZBC over their programming especially over issues to do with politics.
Muchechetere said their election coverage was strictly based on Zec’s decisions.

“We gave Zec the programme and they are the ones who approve it, as we speak now I am on my way to Zec to hear what they have to say.

“We are no longer guided by the parent ministry but Zec now. If the parties are going to be 30 like what is being said, it will be difficult but they should all be slotted in.

“We are mandated to have every party come in and discuss its manifesto, whether it will be for 30 minutes or more. Every party will have the chance to come in and share whatever material they have,” he said.

He said the broadcaster would be calling the political parties for debates so that they argue their policies and also inform the general public on their activities.

Muchechetere added that the parties are also welcome to flight adverts and buy airtime.

“If a party thinks that the time they would have been allocated is not enough, they can buy airtime and advertise.”

ZBC has been under fire for failure to cover other political parties with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at one point saying the broadcaster did not bother to cover him.

On this Muchechetere pinned the blame on the other parties, saying they are not forthcoming.

“The ministry of Information gives us a diary every week, that way we know what is going on in government.

“The problem with the other parties is that they do not give us their diaries, they do not communicate, how then do they expect us to cover them?

“I don’t see how they claim that we intentionally cover them when we have not been informed of their activities.

“We cover events we have been told about, it is not true that we do not cover them because we do,”he said.

On programming Muchechetere said they will start with an interview with the Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau whom he said will be informing people on what is expected of them during elections.

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