THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) has said results of the recent opinion poll on Zimbabwean politics by an American think-tank, Freedom House, were “acceptable and reliable on some issues”.
Report by Jennifer Dube
But the party was quick to point out that the survey was not indicative that Zanu PF was more popular considering that 47% of the people refused to disclose their political preferences.
A survey conducted by South African political analyst Susan Booysen and the Mass Public Opinion Institute in June and July this year demonstrated that Zanu PF was becoming more popular than MDC-T.
Based on a sample of 1 198 adult Zimbabweans, the survey concluded that backing for MDC-T plummeted from 38% in 2010 to 20% this year while that for Zanu PF grew from 17% to 31% over the same period.
“The survey is important in that it has confirmed that the people of Zimbabwe want change,” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said yesterday. “We accept that the people of Zimbabwe acknowledged that there has been positive change in their lives; they have grown skeptical about the inclusive government clearly because of policy inconsistencies”.
He added: “We are prepared to accept that the people of Zimbabwe have heard more of the Zanu PF message than ours and this is because of Zanu PF’s monopoly in the State media.”
Mwonzora said MDC-T also found the survey important in that it highlighted issues of intimidation and violence being faced by the people.
He said the party also took the issue of corruption cited in the survey seriously, but was quick to say the MDC-T was the only party which had the courage to deal with the malpractice.
“We admit there are some councillors whose behavior has left a lot to be desired, some of them elected on an MDC ticket,” Mwonzora said. “But we started disciplining these councillors long before this report.”
The MDC-T has fired several councillors accused of corruption.
Sharing his views on a social network, MDC-T Harare provincial spokesperson, Obert Gutu, who is also the Deputy Minister of Justice, however said the survey was hopelessly misleading, politically mischievous and horrendously misguided.
“It is the height of intellectual delinquency for any right-thinking person to argue that all of a sudden, the people of Zimbabwe now have increased faith and trust in the army, the police and the CIO as well as the AG’s Office,” Gutu wrote.
As if in agreement with MDC-T, Tsholotsho North MP and Zanu PF spin doctor Jonathan Moyo did not go into an overdrive celebration like some of his Zanu PF colleagues.
Moyo told the local media that Zanu PF should be wary of such research as the Freedom House normally had a sinister agenda.
“Freedom House is not an independent thinking political organisation but operates with a hidden agenda,” Moyo said.
Dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Science at the National University of Science and Technology, Dr Lawton Hikwa said public opinions poll were time-bound and their results were influenced by feelings obtaining at that particular time.
“Opinion polls are never definitive. They are not quantitative. They are not as easy as counting stones,” he said.
Another political analyst and publisher, Ibbo Mandaza said the survey’s methodology and conclusions were misleading.
“The assumption by Zanu PF that they will win the next election is not true,” Mandaza said. “They will lose if they go to the polls with (President Robert) Mugabe as their candidate. MDC too needs to repackage (Prime Minister) Morgan Tsvangirai completely as he will not win as he is. The party depends a lot on the anti-Mugabe card and that card is no longer working.”