SADC recommends closure of external Zim radio stations

via SADC recommends closure of external Zim radio stations | SW Radio Africa By Tichaona Sibanda

The SADC election observer mission has recommended that external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe should immediately end their operations.

In its final report on the conduct of the July 31st elections, SADC said the poll was ‘free, peaceful and generally credible.’ Once again choosing not to say it was fair.

The four page report was presented by Tanzania’s foreign minister Bernard Membe.

Membe made a point of continually referring to the external radio stations as pirate broadcasters and said SADC was certainly going to shut down those operating in SADC countries and would take on the challenge of having the others closed down.

This is despite the fact that Membe admitted it was difficult for parties other than ZANU PF to get access to the state broadcaster.

SADC’s final verdict, especially on the recommendation to ban external radio stations, leaves many to wonder if the regional bloc is now the enforcer of the country’s media laws.

While the regional body applauded Zimbabwe for holding peaceful elections it ignored rigging accusations made by the MDC-T and civil society organizations.

Membe said the mission did note several shortcomings. Problems included the late publication of details of polling stations and media taking sides. The SADC statement noted that the voters roll was not made available on time and said: “The provision of the voters roll in time goes to the very heart of fairness in the election process. If the voters roll is not made available on time, the fairness of the election is brought into question.”

But SADC and Membe seem to have disregarded this important point and said despite some negative things being said about the conduct of the elections, there were many other elements that, when put together, elevated the election to a credible status.

‘The free election environment, the peaceful environment in which the election took place, free expression and campaigns, transparency and free voting constitutes the credibility under the prevailing circumstances particularly when compared to 2008 elections. Therefore, this election was generally credible,’ Membe said.

On polling day at least 300,000 voters were turned away while 206,000 received ‘help’ from officials to vote. Many voters who were turned away had their names missing from the voters’ roll, or they were registered in another ward.

Mcdonald Lewanika, a director at Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said SADC’s final verdict on Zimbabwe was not surprising, given the trajectory the body seems to have been taking in the last month.

‘They had already adjudged that the elections were free and peaceful. This unfortunate position seems to have been carried through in the final report.

‘The only surprising thing in the report released today (Monday) is that it reads more like something written by an interested party in Zimbabwe’s politics more than an objective regional body,’ Lewanika said.



  • comment-avatar
    Zeezee 10 years ago

    This sounds like pressure from Zimbabwe! What next? Ban the internet? They may stop freedom of speech through outside radio stations, but this will not stop people from really knowing what goes on as almost everyone has access to the internet and social media!

  • comment-avatar
    Mwanawevhu 10 years ago

    Afraid of having your ineptitude exposed?. If you worry about that please save your strength cause we already know.Southern Africa is better off without SADC

  • comment-avatar
    terry 10 years ago

    I very much doubt that the Sadc observer mission’s remit gave them authority to make recommendations for the closure of private and state overseas broadcasters. The fact that Sadc happily refer to these broadcasters as ‘pirate stations’ tells us everything we need to know about Sadc’s want of neutrality!

  • comment-avatar
    Old Man River 10 years ago

    “Media taking sides.” For Heaven’s sakes. Media ALWAYS take sides,throughout the world. It’s called “freedom of speech”. Like the man said: I may not like what the Herald – or Sunday Mail – or Independent – say, but I absolutely defend their right to say it.

  • comment-avatar

    …so says the clowns…why don’t you ask us as Zimbabweans and we tell you whether we want them or not…

  • comment-avatar
    Hango Yapalala 10 years ago


  • comment-avatar

    Maybe SADC should instead be issuing guidlines for fair elections, such as insisting that a transparently produced digital copy of the voter’s roll be furnished to all citizens, for free, 60 days before any election. Failure to do so means that SADC does not recognize that election.

  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 10 years ago

    Stupid people let them do whatever. It was called dark continent its not for nothing its b’coz of what we do. Once Africans took over from white everything has deteriorated, no water ,no electricity ,no hospitals no education, no nothing maybe except Botswana. Let the dark continent continue to be darker

    • comment-avatar
      NANSI LENDODA 10 years ago

      @WASHUMBA you dont believe in yourself and you are better-off working in the West for a white family or Botswana. Suka lapha, landela abelungu bakho and sing the same song with them nxaa

  • comment-avatar
    Phunyukabemphethe 10 years ago

    External radio broadcasting is here to stay. Get used to it Gukurahundis!

    • comment-avatar

      I guess SADC is unfamiliar with the concept known as “freedom of speech,” just as they also seem not to understand the concept of Free and “Fair” elections.

  • comment-avatar

    The external broadcasts are a symbol that there is no freedom of broadcasting in Zimbabwe. SADC should be advocating for that instead of closing external stations which are doing a sterling job in informing Zimbabweans whats happening in the country! Why should i be forced to listen to Dead BC or Zanu BC??? Methinks this SADC has a secret agenda, which is the prolonging of zanupf dictatorship