By Mutsa Makuvaza
THE majority of Zimbabweans would vote for Zanu-PF if elections were to be held tomorrow, according to findings by Afrobarometer, a pan-African, non-partisan, non-profit survey research network, which were released yesterday.
Afrobarometer has previously correctly predicted the outcome of the 2013 and 2018 elections.
In its report issued yesterday, Afrobarometer said if elections were to be held tomorrow, Zanu PF would win against the Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance.
It said about a quarter (27%) of citizens said they felt close to Zanu PF, while a fifth (20%) said they would chose MDC Alliance.
“If presidential elections were held tomorrow, one-third (33%) of respondents say they would vote for the Zanu PF candidate, compared to one-fourth (26%) who say they would vote for the MDC Alliance candidate. About four in 10 refused to answer, say they would not vote, or say they don’t know.
“Large majorities say the government is performing badly on creating jobs (91%), keeping prices stable (78%), improving living standards of the poor (75%) and other issues.”
About half of the citizens, an estimated seven million, say they went without enough food (52%), enough clean water (51%) and medical care (55%) at least several times during the past year, according to the report.
Zimbabweans, however, said they were happy with the government’s response to COVID-19.
“On the whole, the public gives a thumbs-up to the government for its response to COVID-19. Government generally gets positive ratings for its management of the COVID-19 response, despite concerns about some of the measures which saw citizens losing jobs and sources of income,” part of the report read.
“Four out of five respondents (81%) endorse lockdowns and school closures to curb the spread of COVID-19, although most say lockdowns were difficult to comply with and schools should have reopened much sooner.”
On restrictions to freedoms during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost three-fourths (72%) of Zimbabweans said the government was justified in using the police and army to enforce public health mandates, such as lockdown orders, mask requirements, and restrictions on public gatherings, during a health emergency.
“Views are more divided on whether a pandemic justifies postponing elections or limiting political campaigning: Half (51%) of Zimbabweans said yes, while 36% disagree. And citizens are evenly split on censorship of the media during a pandemic: 43% say such restrictions are justified, but 45% disagree.
“A majority (55%) say they are worried, including 34% who are “very worried,” that politicians are using or will use the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their power and authority.
“Looking ahead, more than half (51%) of Zimbabweans believe that the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be a ‘somewhat serious’ or ‘very serious’ problem for the country over the next six months, while 37% think it will not.
“Government assistance and performance, an overwhelming majority (90%) of Zimbabweans say they did not receive any assistance from the government, such as food, cash payments, or relief from bill payments, during the pandemic.”
Zimbabwe is due for general elections in 2023. Yesterday, Zanu-PF Vice President Kembo Mohadi said his party was massively pushing for voter registration of its members. He added that the 5 million votes it seeks to poll in the 2023 elections were achievable. – Zimbabwe Voice ■