Poll shows Zimbabwe voters caught in transition

A new survey showing that support for Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has waned over the past two years may provide more fuel for President Robert Mugabe's push for fresh elections and further harden his position against reforms.

The report, Change and New Politics in Zimbabwe, by rights group Freedom House, suggests the sharp distinction between Zanu-PF and MDC supporters is being blurred as "Zimbabweans are showing evidence of having been torn in all directions in the transitional period".

The report is based on a survey conducted in Zimbabwe between June and July this year.

"In terms of declared survey-based support, it appears the MDC-T [Tsvangirai's faction of the party] has been suffering a decline in support, falling from 38% to 20% in the parliamentary vote from 2010 to 2012." The survey indicated that Zanu-PF support was up from 17% to 31% over the same period. It also showed Mugabe had gained on Tsvangirai in terms of popular support.

The report has bolstered Zanu-PF. The party has grown bolder in recent months, blocking a key constitutional reform exercise and daring its ruling partners to contest a new election. The report will likely see Zanu-PF becoming even more resolute in its position – confirmed by party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo saying it had been vindicated in calling for elections.

No agenda
Gumbo said the survey showed that the "people now realise the MDC has no agenda or policy to help them", which was why Zanu-PF was confident enough to call for fresh elections now. "It confirms everything we have ever said about them [the MDC]."

However, Freedom House pointed out that 47% of those surveyed did not declare how they would vote, a fact the MDC said showed how fear might have distorted the outcome of the survey.

"Given the margin of error acknowledged in the report, it is difficult to rely entirely on this report to gauge the opinion of the people of Zimbabwe on their political choices. We note that a lot of people interviewed refused to disclose their political preferences," MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said.

The survey polled about 1 200 people and carries a 2.8% margin of error. It found that life for Zimbabweans had "become less survival oriented" and 58% of those polled believed "things will be better or much better in another year's time".

A plot
But it is the MDC's apparent drop in support that has angered the party and it called a press conference on Wednesday to dismiss the report. Tsvangirai's allies claim it is a plot by foreign governments to undermine his leadership of the party.

The report suggests that the responsibility of governing has taken a toll on the MDC: "The MDC-T 'in power' – or with a bit of power in reach – has suffered under accusations that local MDC-T councillors are involved in corruption, in effect equalising the MDC-T and Zanu-PF."

Political analyst Charles Mango-ngera said Zimbabweans had harboured unrealistic expectations of the unity government and this had hit the MDC hard.

"But you also need to factor in the 47% that did not declare their party affiliation. My experience of opinion data from Zimbabwe is that such a high percentage is attributable to fear and in most cases it belongs to the MDC and not to Zanu-PF."


Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

What the law could clarify this year

Lawfare: Major developments are on the cards where law and politics meet, including the first amendment to South Africa’s Bill of Rights

The secret ‘Warmonger’ at the SSA

A listening device acquired by the agency is at the centre of an alleged R600-million fraud operation

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.