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70% want international community to pile pressure for credible elections



NEARLY 70% of Zimbabweans want the international community to pile pressure on the government to level the playing field during the forthcoming general elections as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration faces a credibility deficit ahead of the polls, a new opinion survey has revealed.


Zimbabwe is heading for general elections on 23 August and the country’s main opposition party, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change, has already raised the red flag over repeated police bans of its campaign rallies.

According to an Afrobarometer survey conducted by the Mass Public Opnion Institute (MPOI), many Zimbabweans hold an idealist view and pin hopes on foreign governments to hold Harare to account during the polls.

“Close to seven in 10 (66%) also say that international development partners should put pressure on the Zimbabwean government to ensure that the campaign and election processes are free and fair,” the survey reads.

Unemployment (46%), management of the economy (35%), and infrastructure development (26%) top the list of citizens’ development agenda (in the election campaign). Other issues that citizens want to see the election campaign to address are water supply (21%), corruption (20%) and education (17%).

 Drug abuse (9%) is one problem that has emerged in the top 10 most important problems that the citizens believe should be addressed.

The survey revealed that “an overwhelming majority 85%” say the government has performed badly/very badly in addressing what citizens mentioned as the most important problem. The survey also showed that close to 6 in every 10 (59%) of the respondents expressed fear of falling victim to political violence during elections.

Nearly half of the citizens say the conduct of previous elections has often led to violence in their constituency.

While Zimbabwe will invite foreign observers during next month’s polls, the government has already read the Riot Act to foreign missions, warning that it would expel them for interfering with the electoral process.

“The government of the Republic of Zimbabwe is inviting entities to come and observe the harmonised elections, said then acting Foreign Affairs minister Amon Murwira during a signing ceremony with the European Union early this month.

“The teams are however reminded that their purpose is solely to observe, not monitor, the election process.”

Speaking at the same event, head of the EU delegation in Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchman said the European bloc’s observer mission will not overstep its mandate during the forthcoming polls.

“The election observation mission will obey  Zimbabwe regulations and also EU code of conduct. They will be strictly impartial. This is part of the agreement we just signed,” von Kirchman said then.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, the economy, and society.

Zimbabwe has completed surveys with Afrobarometer in 1999, 2004, 2005,2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Surveys are conducted in English, ChiShona and SiNdebele. The national partner is MPOI. 

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