The survey was conducted in conjunction with the Mass Public Opinion Institute in Harare where 1198 adult Zimbabweans from the country’s 10 provinces, were interviewed between June 23 and July 07, 2012. Respondents were interviewed on political power, elections, fear and violence, the constitution and socio-economic conditions.
The results announced here by Susan Booysen, a political analyst and professor in the Graduate School of Public and Development Management at Wits University, also noted that if Zimbabwe elections were to be held tomorrow, 47 percent would not vote. Included in that figure were some who said their vote was a secret. This figure was up from 41 percent in a similar survey in 2010.
The 2012 public survey on Zimbabwe, titled Change and New Politics in Zimbabwe, is the third conducted by Freedom House since 2009.
The 53 percent who stated their political choices, 20 percent said they would support the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, down from 38 percent in 2010. Thirty-one percent indicated they would vote for Zanu (PF), a 17 percent increase in 2010.
The 47 percent, who said they will vote, described the forthcoming election this year or next year as the ‘election that will make a difference’.
The survey also found out that the majority of Zimbabweans still trusted to receive its news from Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, particularly radio. Only seven percent relied on Voice of America’s Studio 7.
The most serious problem confronting Zimbabweans is unemployment where two thirds of people have no jobs.
Faith Zaba, an Independent Newspaper political editor, said at a meeting to announce the results that this survey served as ‘a wakeup call’ and a need for ‘self introspection’ for the MDC.
She said the MDC needs a strong message which covers bread and butter issues if it is going to convince people to vote for it.
She said it was not enough to call for change without a strong message of what exactly was going to be delivered by the party.
Zaba believed Zimbabweans were disappointed that basic issues like water, electricity and health were still a major cause in Zimbabwe. The coalition government and the MDC as a party had failed the people.
A media analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, said it was a surprise that so many people expressed trust in the state-owned media. However, he said the fact that there were about three million free to air receivers in the country, including rural areas, was a reflection that people were seeking alternative media.
He also felt that the honeymoon was over for the MDC, which he said had a lot of work to reconnect with its political bases. He said it had been taken for granted that Zimbabweans will support MDC because of their message for change.
He said Zimbabweans were looking for something to hold on to that will give them hope that is why the issue of holding an election was a big issue.
Although hope had been pinned on the constitutional process, people had soon realised that the process was flawed. Zanu (PF) is said to have almost rewrote the entire constitutional draft, which gives more power to President Robert Mugabe.
Mukundu said the fact that a lot of people refused to identify which political party they would vote for showed a high level of disgruntlement.
Most Zimbabweans feared violence would escalate.
Zaba feared that as long as perpetrators of violence in previous elections were still roaming freely, there would be more violence.