ZBC fails to screen Warriors' Cosafa match

HARARE – Thousands, if not millions of Zimbabweans were disappointed on Saturday when ZBC-TV decided to screen live a gathering of Johanne Marange Apostolic Church attended by President Robert Mugabe instead of screening the live Cosafa soccer match between Zimbabwe’s Warriors and Malawi.

Zimbabwe is a soccer-loving nation and for ZBC to opt to ignore the Cosafa quarterfinal match involving our national team and bring us live a blow-to-blow account of a Passover of Johanne Marange’s Apostolic Church gathering smacks of selfishness.

With most poor households switched off from SABC television channels, they have been forced to revert to watching ZBC-TV.

Saturday afternoon however, turned out to be a disappointing day as thousands of households could not watch their national soccer team battling with Malawi.

Instead, they were forced to painfully follow a church ceremony simply because Mugabe and wife Grace were in attendance.

The church screening showed how desperate Mugabe is for votes from the 1,2 million member-strong church and how ZBC-TV is trying to prop him and his party.

As for ZBC-TV, the screening of that church gathering could have happened immediately after the soccer match, and viewers would not have even known it was delayed.

Does ZBC-TV know it is a public broadcaster which is there to serve ordinary Zimbabweans who through our tax contributions pay for its upkeep?

ZBC-TV should be aware that Warriors are supported by Zimbabweans from all political parties be it Zanu PF, MDC and Zapu.

It is one game capable of bringing all Zimbabweans together regardless of political affiliation and for the broadcaster to overdose them with a Zanu PF- inclined campaign in which they ambushed the church Passover is insensitive.

But ZBC-TV is always playing tricks with viewers and this time more-so, when Information minister Webster Shamu was among the church disciples who attended the church Passover.

And indeed, Zimbabweans were glued to their television sets as Mugabe and Grace joined the congregation clad in the Vapositori garb, with the president holding tight on the traditional Vapositori tsvimbo.

Other Zanu PF officials were also in attendance and all of them had humbled themselves to conform to the church’s doctrines — no shoes at the shrine. Yes, even Mugabe’s bodyguards were clad in the vapositori garments. Indeed a spectacle!

All this thanks to leaders of the church who at every turn campaigned for Mugabe and anointed him as Zimbabwe’s chosen leader.

We hope the church leaders, in endorsing Mugabe are happy with the way he has been running the country, the past 33 years.

We hope the church leaders are being sincere in blessing a man and a party that has alledgedly killed opponents and trumped on people’s liberties during the past years it has been in power.

We hope the church is not being ignorant of its role that of being a unifier.

ZBC-TV should not think that all that captive audience at the Passover, numbering in their thousands would vote for Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Those church-members think for themselves and have independent political views about who they want as Zimbabwe’s next leader.

Interestingly, from the day election dates were announced, the ZBC, especially television has turned into a Zanu PF channel, and at every turn it beams the former liberation party’s rallies, small or big in full.

The Zanu PF presidential candidate, Mugabe has since been dominating ZBC news coverage — with his few rallies so far being screened wholesomely.

The music videos being played on television are all Zanu PF jingles.

As for the MDC and its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, what has been news are his few poorly-attended rallies while those that recorded high turnouts have been given snippets punctuated by negatives only.

ZBC-TV has gone a step further screening parades of what they are claiming to be  MDC defectors renouncing membership at Zanu PF rallies. Talk of de-campaigning the MDC!

I have been thinking loud over ZBC’s coverage of the elections — you never know, what if Tsvangirai and MDC win the elections, will Happison Muchechetere and his bandwagon of Zanu PF apologists survive at the station?

Do the people working at ZBC ever think about their life post-Zanu PF? I wonder!

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