The local mainstream press published editorial commentaries today (30 July) highlighting their expectations of the plebiscite. While some of the comments were fair and neutral some indicated the papers' biases heading into the election.
In the government controlled press, The Herald was more direct in its message as it notified its readers who not to vote for. The paper used an analogy to discredit MDC Alliance candidate, Nelson Chamisa by aligning him with former President, Robert Mugabe. The daily noted that, "Chamisa, leader of the MDC Alliance does not represent the new as he claims. He represents the old, specifically Mugabe as we knew him in his later years. The spent force the nation unanimously retired last November".
The Chronicle carried a rather tame comment encouraging candidates to respect the will of the people. It also called on the public to maintain the peace that prevailed in the pre‐election period so that the country's economic turnaround is smooth.
The private press was more balanced in its assessment of the situation as it noted that the people's will should be allowed to prevail. The two papers, Daily News and NewsDay urged Zimbabweans to come out and vote in their large numbers to choose a leader of their choice. The Daily News noted that, "It is absolutely critical that the will of the people be allowed to prevail. Once Zimbabweans have spoken, we must all embrace the poll outcome since democracy would have won".
They also highlighted the administrative challenges that prevailed during the run up to the elections. NewsDay noted that, "After months of threats to the effect that there would be no elections without reforms, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) refused to move an inch. Ballots were printed either in Zimbabwe or God knows where and the election is on".
While The Herald, appeared to discredit, Chamisa, NewsDay seemed unimpressed by Emmerson Mnangagwa achievements in the past eight months he was in office. The paper states, "Mnangagwa at his inauguration in November last year said he wanted to fight corruption. Little has come of this". It went on to encourage youths and "the poor majority who have suffered under successive ZANU PF regimes over 38 years" to ensure their voice is heard in these elections.
On Election Day, the four papers are giving live updates of the polling process from across the country. The updates are being streamed live on their websites.
Source: Media Monitors