Afrobarometer opinion: Is it flawed or manipulated?

Story Highlights
  • Afrobarometer only carries a survey among the Oppostion members who are in towns and publish the results as authentic. The system itself is biased unfair and already designed to come up with an anti government opinion, writes Dr Masimba Mavaza.


Zimbabwe woke up to a report by Afro Barometer which was so negative to the efforts being made in the democratisation of Zimbabwe and positive on the fight against COVID 19. The mixed bag from Afrobarometer carried more damaging opinions on the issues of politics and multiparty democracy.

It rubbishes Zimbabwean effort to democratisation as manipulated and not progressing. The Afrobarometer round eight survey in Zimbabwe. 18-06-2021 brought out some points which motivated me to explore this survey barometer. While the issues on COVID are the reflection of the truth the political aspect showed a lot of bias which got my mind rolling.

What exactly is AFROBAROMETER?

Afrobarometer is supposed to be a non-partisan, pan-African research institution conducting  public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy and society more than thirty countries repeated on a regular cycle. They are said to be the world’s leading source of high-quality data on what Africans are thinking.

Afrobarometer is projected as the world’s leading research project on issues that affect ordinary African men and women. They are supposed to collect and publish high-quality, reliable statistical data on Africa which is freely available from and to the public.

Its secretariat headquarters are in Accra, Ghana, registered as a limited company by guarantee by the Registrar-General’s Department. This was Founded in 1999.

The surveys are carried out by region through a partnership of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD Ghana),the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in South Africa, and the Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nairobi.

The Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa at the University of Cape Town and the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University are technical partners.

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Afrobarometer surveys are conducted in more than 30 African countries and are repeated on a regular cycle.

Trends in public attitudes are tracked over time. Results are shared with decision makers, policy advocates, civic educators, journalists, researchers, donors and investors, as well as average Africans who wish to become more informed and active citizens.

The Afrobarometer was founded by America through Professor Michael Bratton of Michigan State University and Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi of CDD Ghana.  The two had the support of another American paid Professor Robert Mattes of the University of Cape Town (while based at IDASA).

So it is not surprising that their opinion and survey may be meant to please their sponsors and handlers. The fact that they rely on the funding of others it is expected for them to embellish the survey results to reflect the wish and the will of their sponsors.

The Africans are made to believe that  Afrobarometer’s aim is to give the public a voice in policymaking by providing high-quality public opinion data to policymakers, policy advocates, civil society organizations, academics, news media, donors and investors, and ordinary Africans.

But in some cases the barometer feeds the handlers and investors with the negative information they collate against Zimbabwe. The outcome of their surveys seem to be tailor made and if the country is already in the top ten priority of regime change project the an opinion prepares the mind of people and poisons it with mistrust.

By the time the regime change activists start fighting Zimbabwe the world has already been sold a dummy and the public opinion will have been set against the government. So the survey gurus are political activists and the list of their founders shows that they can never come out with anything reasonable on Zimbabwe.  The Afrobarometer peruses their regime change goal by what they say on their website

“Funding from a variety of organizations and institutions allows us to pursue this goal.”

Now the roiling 8 survey which issued a damning report on Zimbabwe democracy and meant to vilify Polad was funded by countries who pretend to love  Zimbabwe yet they are enemies of our country.

Financial support for Round 8 has been provided by:Sweden,Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Open Society Foundations, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) via the U.S. Institute of Peace Funders for previous rounds have also included the U.S. State Department, National Endowment for Democracy, UK Department for International Development (DFID), World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Duke University China Research Center, Transparency International, Institute for Security Studies, Royal Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RDMFA), Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

Donations are supposed to help Afrobarometer give voice to African citizens but unfortunately they are helping Anti African spirit to manifest in the minds of the West and investors.

Afrobarometer like any other survey companies is supposed to use national probability samples designed to generate a sample that is a representative cross-section of all citizens of voting age in a given country.  The goal is to give every adult citizen an equal and known chance of being selected for an interview. 

Unfortunately when it comes to Zimbabwe the Afrobarometer only take its samples from towns. It is not a secret that the towns of Zimbabwe are predominantly opposition.

So the Afrobarometer only carries a survey among the Oppostion members who are in towns and publish the results as authentic. The system itself is biased unfair and already designed to come up with an anti government opinion.

Afrobarometer is supposed to use random selection methods at every stage of sampling; which means they are supposed to go to Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe,Mutoko, Chiredzi and many rural areas. They should carry their survey in Muzarabani and each and every province in order to be fair human and indeed to give a none biased opinion.

They must be sampling at all stages with probability proportionate to population size  wherever possible to ensure that larger (i.e., more populated) geographic units have a proportionally greater probability of being chosen into the sample.

The sampling universe normally includes all citizens age 18 and older but Afrobarometer concentrated on few citizens.  As a standard practice, they are supposed to exclude people living in institutionalised settings, such as students in dormitories, patients in hospitals, and persons in prisons or nursing homes. But most of their interviewees are students and obviously they are highly fed with opposition propaganda.

The system used by Afrobarometer when it comes to Zimbabwe excludes the distinctive ethnic or language groups. They are left out of the sample and only those in areas  known to be pro opposition are the ones who are included in the surveys.

Zimbabweans do ask if This is a well oiled system sponsored by the West to undermine the African governments and at this time their emphasis is on Zimbabwe?Again it should be noted that there are survey groups for each continent.

Afrobarometer and Eurobarometer are cross-national comparative survey projects focusing on population sample surveys. Other related projects are the Arabbarometer (Arab region), Asianbarometer (Asia) and Latinobarometer (Latin America).

Each of the barometers is implemented independently although in each country, a national research team administers a country-wide face-to-face survey using standardized survey instruments to compile the required micro-level data under a common research framework and research methodology.

You can ask yourself why do the Americans sponsor these projects. Why is the main sponsor a ministry of foreign affairs. The answer is not hidden in the cloud. It is clearly in the open.

Now coming to the results of round 8. The opinion is meant to split the Zimbabwean’s commitment to the second republic. The opinion purports you show that
today, more people than at any other stage since Robert Mugabe’s ouster in a military coup in 2017,  believe that there are defects in it’s  successor’s ruling machinery.

The onslaught on Mnangagwa started just the day he was inaugurated. The opposition to Mnangagwa was motivated by the fact that the president has refused to give Chamisa a GNU he was praying for. When it comes to Zimbabwe the WEST wants the losing parties in elections to get ministerial positions. They want Zimbabwe to reward the losers. 

This became a major reason which caused Mnangagwa to be an enemy of the West.
Being fair to the Afrobarometer the issues which were not highly political they try to be fair but any thing political the shadow inclines to the funders. 43% of Zimbabweans described their ecomonic conditions as “very bad” or “fairly bad”.

79% of Zimbabweans prefer democracy to any other kind of government. 34% of Zimbabweans don’t see any difference between their own living conditions and those of fellow citizens.

On the good point the Afrobarometer stated that Zimbabweans endorse government’s COVID-19 response but voice concerns about corruption and lack of assistance. Why were they quick to raise issues of corruption when the question had nothing to do with corruption.

A new Afrobarometer survey shows that even though almost half of Zimbabwean households lost a primary source of income during the COVID-19 pandemic, most citizens approve of the government’s overall management of the pandemic.

Most Zimbabweans endorse lockdowns and school closures as painful but necessary.
But very few report receiving pandemic-related assistance from the government, and a majority believe that COVID-19 resources were lost to government corruption.

A majority doubt the government’s ability to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and fewer than half say they are likely to try to get vaccinated.

Key findings

Even though almost half (47%) of Zimbabweans say their household lost a primary source of income during the pandemic and more than three-fourths (77%) say it was difficult to comply with lockdown/curfew restrictions, most citizens (81%) support the restrictions as necessary (Figure 1).

The same majority (81%) agree with the government’s decision to close the schools, although most (85%) say they should have reopened sooner (Figure 2).

Only one in 10 citizens (10%) say their household received pandemic-related assistance from the government (Figure 3). More than four in 10 (43%) say the distribution of government assistance was unfair.

More than eight in 10 Zimbabweans approve of the government’s performance in managing the pandemic (81%) and keeping the public informed (84%). But a majority (54%) believe that “some” or “a lot” of the resources available for responding to the pandemic were lost to government corruption (Figure 4).

Only four in 10 citizens (42%) say they trust the government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, and only about half (47%) say they are likely to try to get vaccinated (Figure 5).

The Afrobarometer team in Zimbabwe, led by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), interviewed 1,200 adult citizens of Zimbabwe in April 2021. A sample of this size yields country- level results with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. Previous standard Afrobarometer surveys were conducted in Zimbabwe in 1999, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2012, 2014, and 2017.
However despite the COVID 19 endorsement the issues which touch the political eye which involve the American blue eyed boy Chamisa Afrobarometer put in some opinions which did not represent the Zimbabwean opinion pot.

The opinion by the Afrobarometer sought to cause mistrust and to turn the people against their government. They allege that Grievances are widespread amongst the urban and the rural, women and men and the young and old albeit to slightly varying degrees. They claim that This social, economic and political discontent is breeding a silent social war.

This on its on is a well elaborated effort to opinionated the Zimbabwean public to prepare for a none existent social war. The Afrobarometer in their comment contain that “This is prompted by the government’s incompetence at the front leading to a weak social contract, economic hardships at home, food shortages, partisan institutions, and the ruling party’s growing illegitimacy.”

The opinions published by Afrobarometer are just a tick box expectations of their paymasters. What the Afrobarometer neglected to say is the fact that opinions do not directly translated into actual votes. They however boosted the MDC A by saying “there is no an alternative popular and overt electoral support for the resilient MDC Alliance-which despite state engineered weapons of mass destruction- has remained engraved in its social base and politically competitive.”

The survey pretended to be setting the MDC A led by Chamisa & ZANU PF led by Mnangagwa on a collision track. But the truth is the opinion is designed to vilify ZANU OF and raise the awareness on MDC A whose popularity was falling after it split in several fragments.

The Afrobarometer claim that  These two parties Chamisa’s and ZANU OF are the only statistically significant as per respondents.
The idea in the dark corners of Afrobarometer is to prop up Chamisa as an indomitable lion and an in defeat able champion.

Afrobarometer is portraying a fallacy that  
“The ZANU PF government’s rural legitimacy is evidently waning following the loss of urban legitimacy in the 1990s. The majority of the citizenry in the rural areas (62%)  feel that the country is going in the wrong direction.

However, this does not directly translate to the MDC A’s rural legitimacy.”  This opinion must never be taken seriously it is only the fruits of a project regime change. The idlers is to feed the rural folks with falsehoods so that they will have their trust in ED shaken. 

It should be clearly pointed out the handlers of the Afrobarometer are hoping that MDC Chamisa will make this is a big opportunity to harvest and harness the perceived growing rural discontent and articulate a vision based on the quotidian livelihoods concerns of the people and perhaps a wider vision of Development of Industries in Rural Areas.

Capitalising on this fake opinion the social media activists started insulting ZANU OF supporters as uneducated. It should be mentioned that free education for all was brought in by ZANU PF.

Powered by the President ED’s push to embrace the youth Zimbabwe now sees many youths joining ZANU PF and urging many youths to register to vote. ZANU PF government is gaining confidence across all demographic groupings. 61% of those above 56 years believe the country is going in the right direction.  67% of those who are 18-35 years and 71% of those between 36 and 55 years believe the same. The confidence  for the ZANU PF government is largely shared among the older generation, the young generations and every other person in diaspora.

The problems raised in Midlands are not reflecting in the failure of the president. The president simply needs to be bold and re assign two divisive leaders in Midlands to different ministries and even put them in different provinces. Zimbabwe is for everyone so these two main godfathers and dividing factors of Midlands can be reassigned in the name of the party to other provinces or better still could be assigned to the head office. These two are cde July Moyo and cde Owen NCUBE. Their long dangerous methods and spreading of tribalism will not help us and this is what Afrobarometer used to vilify the wonderful province of Midlands.

The opinion by Afrobarometer is wrong and trying to demoralise ZANU PF. The opinion states that the government by and large is losing rural legitimacy, the data shows that the greater share of loyalty that remains is concentrated in Mashonaland provinces with less people, by comparison to other provinces, believing the economic condition is bad as follows: (1) Mashonaland Central (53%),  (2) Mashonaland East  (62%)  (3) Mashonaland West (67%). All the  other seven provinces have above 70% of people saying the economic condition is bad.

The opinion gives the MDC A ideas that “there might be a need for a targeted strategy to break the Mashonaland authoritarian axis of conditioned & structured politics.”

The shameless Afrobarometer gave the country no hope. They say lnly 35% think the economic situation will improve. This is the power of the opinion. It appeals to your mind and destroys your thinking.  We must know that the country needs hope. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

Hope is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large. As a verb, its definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation. ZANU PF is a hopeful party and our people know that we will get there.

We must never be mistaken opinion is the greatest tool in destroying a government. Most political issues are heavily framed in order to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate this is what Afrobarometer seeks to achieve with Zimbabwe.

They preparing Zimbabweans to be divided lot in opinion. Public opinion can be influenced by public relations and the political media and the social media. Afrobarometer gives that opinion a rare legitimacy. So that if the opposition loses elections they will claim that it was rigged and they will be relying on the wrong legitimated opinion Additionally, mass media utilizes a wide variety of advertising techniques to get their message out and change the minds of people. By its very nature, the democratic process spurs citizens to form opinions on a number of issues.

Voters are called upon to choose candidates in elections, to consider constitutional amendments, and to approve or reject municipal taxes and other legislative proposals. Almost any matter on which the executive or legislature has to decide may become a public issue if a significant number of people wish to make it one.

The political attitudes of these persons are often stimulated or reinforced by outside agencies—a crusading newspaper, an interest group, or a government agency or official. In this case Zimbabwe is being sold on an Afrobarometer  wrapping paper.

The English philosopher and economist Jeremy Bentham (1748–1832) saw the greatest difficulty of the legislator as being “in conciliating the public opinion, in correcting it when erroneous, and in giving it that bent which shall be most favourable to produce obedience to his mandates.”

Zimbabwe must challenge and reject the regime change agenda coming through the Afrobarometer miss-opinion project.

This is a project fully sponsored by those who hate our country. What can one expect from such malcontents. Zimbabwe does not vote through fake opinions. The opinions of our Zimbabwean people do mater. We show our our opinion in the ballot box.

Zimbabwe will never be divided by a Neo colonialist opinion rigging project.

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