“In July 2018, Zimbabweans went to the polls for the first time since the ousting of long-time (now deceased) leader Robert Mugabe, who had held power for nearly 30 years. This may have been promising from an outsider’s perspective, but the heavily contested elections did not inspire confidence in Zimbabwean voters,” a report in one online publication said.
“Weeks after polling day, when results had not yet been released, hundreds of people took to the streets of the capital Harare to protest the delays, with many fearing that the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) had rigged the results in favor of then-Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, who took office shortly after Mugabe’s ouster.”
This was the first and second paragraphs of a long story on how Zimbabwe used a Chinese firm to allegedly rig the elections.
But report breached two fundamental elements of journalism, accuracy and truth.
Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections were held on 30 July 2018.
Violence over the delay in announcing election results erupted on 1 August, two days after the polls, not “weeks” after the poll.
The results were announced on 3 August, four days after the poll.
The constitution says the results must be announced within five days of the poll which means the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had up to 4 August to announced the results.
When Mnangagwa contested the 2018 elections he was not Zimbabwe’s Vice-President. He was the President having been sworn-in on 24 November 2017 to complete Mugabe’s term which was expiring on 21 August 2018.