2018 Elections: Afrobarometer Report Timely Warning

Zimbabwe's opposition parties, which are in the process of forming a grand coalition to mount a united challenge against President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party in the 2018 elections, cannot afford to ignore the latest findings by a Pan-African research group which, once more, favoured the incumbents, analysts warned this week.

This follows the publication by Afrobarometer, last week, of results of a national survey conducted in Zimbabwe in collaboration with the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), which results show that about two-thirds of Zimbabweans (64 percent) trust President Mugabe.

This is the second survey by Afrobarometer to gauge trust levels among Zimbabweans in as many years, the previous with generally similar findings having been published in 2015.
Robert Muagbe is Still the Favourate According to Recent Survey 

Joy Mabenge, a political analyst, said it would be folly on the part of the opposition parties to disregard the survey results.

“I think any argument that dismisses the latest findings from Afrobarometer/MPOI survey on the basis that it will give ZANU-PF (an) upper hand is a lousy argument. You have been given the pulse of the nation 15 months ahead of an election. Take the findings, interpret them and identify your weaknesses and get busy to convince people by addressing key areas!” Mabenge said.

“There is more trust in the President in rural areas (69 percent) than urban centres (55 percent) claiming that they ‘somewhat’ or ‘a lot’ (trust the President). It is also important to note that the public trust the President (64 percent) more than they do the ruling party, ZANU-PF (56 percent),” said Afrobarometer, 

The survey results also show that half of adult Zimbabweans (50 percent) reported that they trust the electoral management body, which is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). There are about eight million adults in Zimbabwe’s population of just over 14 million.

Masvingo province has the highest proportion of adult Zimbabweans (67 percent) who claim that they trust ZEC “somewhat” or quite “a lot” with Bulawayo province having the least trust (28 percent).

At the same time, the findings indicate that almost three-quarters of adult Zimbabweans trust religious leaders and non-governmental organisations the most in the country. The least-trusted institutions are the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and opposition political parties.

“Thirty six percent of adult Zimbabweans say they don’t have trust in the opposition political parties. Religious leaders command ‘a lot’ of trust among Zimbabweans with almost three quarters (72 percent) saying that they trust them while only a few adult Zimbabweans (32 percent) have faith in the opposition political parties.”

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai recently entered into a pact with Joice Mujuru, leader of the National People’s Party, and Welshman Ncube of the smaller MDC faction to work together in their attempt to wrest power from President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party at the polls which are due next year.

“We must not dismiss the Afrobarometer survey results but work harder to surprise our sceptics,” said MDC-T senior member, Tapiwa Mashakada.

“Thanks to the survey I think my colleagues will agree with me that we are now even more motivated to win the elections. We are not deterred as the survey has given us more impetus to confront the regime with better policy alternatives and strategies to win.

“Indeed, we are going to win provided there are electoral and political reforms to level the playing field. From the onset we knew that we are in it for the long haul. We will beat ZANU-PF. We will beat (President) Mugabe. We have the resolve.”

He, however, pointed out that being a scientific study, the survey failed to reflect on the fear element among the people, which is translated into support for President Mugabe and his party. - Fingaz

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