PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said the his party “takes note” of the recent Freedom House survey which suggested the MDC-T faces a pasting at the next elections after suffering a sharp collapse in support at a time President Robert Mugabe is enjoying a renewed surge in popularity.
“We take not of some of the observations and will take corrective measures where they are necessary,” Tsvangirai told reporters in Harare Thursday.
“We are a party that always looks at these issues constantly. We don’t take people for granted by the way we constantly review our performance in all departments.”
Conducted on behalf of the US-based pro-democracy group by Mass Public Opinion Institute and supervised by South African academic Susan Booysen, the survey showed that support for the MDC-T had has fallen from 38 percent in 2010 to 20 percent this year. By contrast, backing for Zanu PF grew to 31 percent from 17 percent, over the same period.
In addition, the survey found that Mugabe would command the support of 31 percent of voters in a presidential election, compared to 19 percent for Tsvangirai, an alarming prospect for the MDC-T whose popularity stood at a healthy 55 percent no more than three years ago.
"I've heard people saying MDC-T is just not doing work in the constituencies and is spending too much time in the palace. They're taking for granted they're the crown princes. They are not capturing the desire for change,” Booysen said when the results were released.
“Perhaps they think they are crown prince that need only wait for Mugabe to go for it to fall in their lap. This is a wake-up call for them that there is no honeymoon.”
However, Tsvangirai said the real test for his party would come next year when Zimbabwe holds new polls to elect a substantive government.
“When we go to an election the people of Zimbabwe will be able to express themselves whether they have confidence or lack of that confidence in the MDC as a party that’s the real poll that l will be interested in not a sample,” he said.
The survey polled 1,198 adult Zimbabweans but 47 percent of the respondents said they would not vote, or refused to indicate who they would vote for and Tsvangirai said this put into the conclusions of the survey.
“A sample may give you one direction or another. One of the notable factors in that assessment is of course a very valid assessment that of 50 percent of the people in this country cannot say which party they belong to,” he said.
“What does that mean? It means that the fear factor is a very dominant factor in our politics. We can not run a credible assessment of people feelings when 50 percent of people can’t speak or can’t even say their names.”
Party secretary general, Tendai Biti also cast doubt on the authenticity of the survey in a recent interview with the Voice of America.
“I respect the right of any person to carry out an opinion but if anyone thinks that the 1,180 people that were polled are a true reflection of an election then let’s go to … the actual election and let’s see who will win,” he said.
“I can’t comment on the professionalism of those who carried out the opinion poll but if an opinion poll is conducted in Zimbabwe and someone tells me that the medium of choice is the ZBC and the Herald then that is insane.
“The most popular media in Zimbabwe is DSTV that is why you see little satellite dishes on nearly every roof in Zimbabwe. So, I respect Freedom House and what they have done but we will do our work as we have been doing.