A recent poll survey jointly conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute and international research institute, Afro-barometer, has shown that the majority of Zimbabwean voters had lost confidence in opposition parties and shifted their allegiance to the ruling Zanu PF party.
The study — which was conducted in November last year — showed that at least 63% of Zimbabweans surveyed trusted President Robert Mugabe.
“He (Mugabe) enjoys greater support in his traditional stronghold, the rural areas where 70% trust him while he only enjoys 45% trust of the urban people. By gender, 62% of males trust him, while he is trusted by 64% of the women. An additional statistic is that 54% of Zimbabweans trust the ruling party, Zanu PF,” the report said.
Political analyst Alex Magaisa described the report as a slap in the face of opposition claims of Mugabe’s rule being illegitimate.
“This result suggests that he has maintained his support, notwithstanding the negatives that have gone on since then,” Magaisa said.
Magaisa, who once worked as opposition MDC-T leader and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s adviser, appealed to the opposition parties to accept the survey results and devise strategies to reverse their negative public perception “rather than moan that this result is misleading and inaccurate”.
“It suggests that even without Zanu PF, they (opposition parties) would still not be trusted by the people. It is not useful to bury heads in the sand. One would expect that, with its litany of failures, the opposition parties would fare better than Zanu PF,” he said, pointing to recurrent splits within the opposition as the reason for people’s lack of trust in what are supposed to be alternatives to the ruling party.
Only 34% of Zimbabweans interviewed during the survey trust opposition parties while the ruling party commands 54% trust among Zimbabweans.
Public institutions such as the army, police, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority also retained their trust.
According to Magaisa, the survey results will also have far-reaching implications on the Zanu PF succession matrix as it reflected that Mugabe was not likely to hand over power anytime soon.
“It backs those arguing that there is no vacancy at State House, now or in the foreseeable future, which means bar resignation, incapacitation or death, Zimbabwe is likely to be with President Mugabe for a very long time to come. It means the aspirants will have to wait longer,” Magaisa said.
Mugabe will be 94 in 2018 and still eligible for another term under the country’s new Constitution