I have watched many BBC HardTalk programmes over the years and last night’s programme with Welshman Ncube as the invited guest is, in my humble opinion one of the “softest” ever!
The British government, the EU, the USA and many other western countries rejected that Zimbabwe's 2013 were free, fair and credible and that is why they refused to lift the targeted sanctions against President Mugabe and his inner circle. It was only later, under pressure from the Belgian government who wanted to resume trade especially in diamonds and did not care about free and fair elections, that the EU lift the sanction on everyone except President Mugabe and his wife, Grace.
So, for the HardTalk presenter to quote from Stephen Chan’s, Professor at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies, book 'Why Mugabe Won: The 2013 Elections in Zimbabwe and their Aftermath' as if this is a credible source is an outrage. The presenter, as did Professor Chan, accepted the official result that Mugabe won 61% of the vote. The official result included the votes of the hooded Zanu PF youths who were bussed from one polling station to the next casting votes. The regime increased the number of polling stations from 2 000 to a staggering 9 000 just a few days before voting day.
Nearly one million voters were denied the vote because their details had been deliberately deleted or posted in a different constituent voters’ roll than the one they expected. It must have been deliberate because that would explain why the regime has stubbornly refused to release the verifiable 2013 voters’ roll even to this day. The voters’ roll must be realised at least one month before the elections, that is the law.
Of course, Professor Stephen Chan must have seen the YouTube videos of the bussed hooded Zanu PF youths, read the AU election observers report who complained of the failure to produce the voters’ roll and mountain of other sources proving beyond doubt that Zanu PF rigged the 2013 elections. It is clear that Professor Chan ignored all this information, for whatever reasons that time alone will reveal, and declare the election free, fair and credible and declared Mugabe the winner.
Why the BBC, with all its resources and reputation as a dependable source of accurate information and whose staff pride themselves in being incorruptible, chose to take Professor Chan’s word against that of the British government and many other sources on Zimbabwe’s 2013 elections beggars belief!
In the course of the interview, Professor Welshman Ncube admitted that the July 2013 elections were rigged.
I half expected the HardTalk presenter to remind Professor Ncube that he and his MDC friends were warned by SADC leaders not to contest the July 2013 elections with no democratic reforms designed to stop Zanu PF rigging the elections.
“Why did you contest the July 2013 elections with no reforms?”
Let Professor Ncube waffle.
“The opposition has not implemented not even one reform since the rigged July 2013 elections and yet you are preparing to contest next year’s election. Why are you, once again, contesting next year’s flawed elections, in total disregard of the SADC leaders’ recommendation not to and contrary to your own “No reform, no election!” resolution?”
Sadly, the HardTalk presenter never asked any of the questions above nor did she ask any, one would consider hard questions.
So, the BBC HardTalk programme was disappointing in giving some modicum of credibility in quoting Professor Chan’s outrageous claim that “Mugabe won” the 2013 Zimbabwe elections when there is a mountain of evidence proving that he rigged the elections. Then to make matters worse the present asked Professor Ncube the questions the latter would wanted asked; they were that soft. If last night’s BBC HardTalk programme is anything to go by, then the Corporation should just change the title of programme’s to SoftTalk and be done with it!