A survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute on behalf of Afrobarometer in November last year and whose findings were released in Harare this week has shown that 63 percent of those surveyed trust President Mugabe more than any public official in the country.
He is even ahead of some public institutions in the popularity stakes. Only religious institutions and their leaders seem to enjoy greater popularity.
His ruling party, Zanu-PF, enjoys the faith of 54 percent of the Zimbabwean population against only 34 percent who trust opposition parties. That’s a gap of 20 percentage points.
On a gender basis, 62 percent of males gave the President the thumbs-up against 64 percent of women.
Zanu-PF’s support base in the rural areas remains firmly established at an unrivalled 70 percent. The figure comes down to 45 percent in urban areas, often claimed by the MDC-T as its political bastion.
There are more shocks for non-believers. The survey shows that people trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army more than they do opposition political parties in the country.
This is very important.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been on a campaign trail demanding what they call electoral reforms before elections can be held. These survey results show that people, whether rural or urban, don’t share Tsvangirai’s reservations about State institutions or organs. They trash even his latest stunt that his party will not participate in the June 10 by-elections unless there are electoral reforms.
The same goes for his posturing about militarisation of State institutions, ZEC being one such. If people have more faith in the army and the police than in him and his political party, why should they vote for him?
Knowingly or unwittingly, these results reveal the MDC-T and its leader are fully aware of their collapsed support base. They will not dare get this confirmed in an electoral contest. It’s safer to boycott the ballot and raise peripheral matters. Zanu-PF will not be looking a gift horse in the mouth.
This is even more important given that Tsvangirai was similarly warned in 2012 of defeat ahead of the July 31 harmonised elections in another MPOI survey on behalf of Freedom House. He was in denial until the shock result which British diplomat Richard Dowden lamented as “the biggest defeat for the United Kingdom’s policy in Africa in 60 years”.
Tsvangirai and his sympathisers and media lackeys claimed the elections had been rigged while those responsible for funding and policy acknowledged that they had been defeated. The latest survey comes well ahead of elections in 2018.
For a party with serious policy issues to offer to the electorate, this would be timely warning to put its house in order. Not our Tsvangirai. He is on a lonely, “No reforms, no elections” crusade. Not even the Constitution matters to him. He must have power by hook or by crook, even if it means inciting jobless youth into violence.
He has nothing to counter Zim-Asset, even when Zanu-PF cannot fully implement the document due to resource constraints. At least voters can see something in it. Tsvangirai and his party seem to have thrown away their Juice together with the container. They are staring the sunset, short of a deus ex machina.
Given the latest survey results, who would be so naïve as to believe their tired song about rigging in future elections? Good try; it was indeed a deep end for Tsvangirai’s intellect.