By Robert Tapfumaneyi/Bulawayo Correspondent
MOST citizens have rated President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to be performing badly, but if elections were to be held tomorrow, he would win with a narrow margin over his arch-rival Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance.
This is part of the findings by Afrobarometer – a South Africa-based non-profit research network.
However, most Zimbabweans who took part in the survey said they were suffering economically and socially without cash, water and other basics.
But despite these negatives, the report said Zanu PF appeared to have an edge over the main opposition – MDC Alliance, and if presidential elections were held even “tomorrow”, Mnangagwa would emerge the winner.
Mnangagwa won the 2018 presidential election with a slight margin against Chamisa. The opposition leader has contested the results arguing the outcome was rigged by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in Mnangagwa’s favour.
The country’s next elections are set to be held in 2023.
“More than half (54%) of Zimbabweans say they feel close to a political party. About a quarter (27%) of citizens say they feel close to Zanu PF, while a fifth (20%) say they feel close to MDC-Chamisa,” the Afrobarometer report noted.
“If presidential elections were held tomorrow, one-third (33%) of respondents say they would vote for the Zanu PF candidate, compared to one-fourth (26%) who say they would vote for the MDC-Chamisa candidate.
“About four in 10 refused to answer, say they would not vote, or say they don’t know.”
According to the survey, a large majority (91%) said Mnangagwa’s administration, in office since November 2017, was performing badly in job creation, keeping prices stable (78%), improving living standards of the poor (75%).
However, 57% of the respondents commended government’s efforts on preventing or resolving violent conflicts.
Meanwhile, according to our Bulawayo Correspondent, most Zimbabweans had trust in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and religious leaders than Mnangagwa.
A total 79% of the survey’s respondents said they trust NGOs while 78% said they trusted religious leaders while only 48% Zimbabweans trusted Mnangagwa.
The police at 38%, and ZEC (38%) are some of the least trusted public institutions.
“Two-thirds (67%) of Zimbabweans say the country is going in the wrong direction. On the economic situation: Almost three-quarters (72%) described the country’s economic condition as fairly bad or very bad.”
The report said only one-third (35%) were optimistic that the country’s macroeconomic conditions would have improved in a year’s time.
“An overwhelming majority (87%) of Zimbabweans say they went without a cash income several times, many times, or always during the previous year.”
The survey was conducted in April 2021 by Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) on behalf of the Afrobarometer on; “The Quality of Democracy and Governance in Zimbabwe.”