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Afrobarometer survey a huge indictment on both ZANU PF and CCC!

12 Jul 2023 at 08:57hrs | Views
The survey results released by pan-African research group, Afrobarometer, on the likely outcome of elections in Zimbabwe, came as no surprise at all.

They merely reflected what analysts as myself have been saying for years now.

There is simply no political entity in Zimbabwe that gives hope and meets the expectations of the vast majority of the citizenry.

With half the population living in extreme poverty and nearly three quarters earning below the poverty datum line - one would have expected the people's disgruntlement and displeasure to be overwhelmingly reflected in their political choices, especially at election time.

However, that is not the case.

Indeed, according to the survey - when asked whether those polled where happy with the direction the country was going - unsurprisingly, 65 percent responded that they were definitely not happy.

Yet, in the same survey only 27 percent openly declared that they would vote for the main opposition CCC's Nelson Chamisa - if an election was to be held at the time of this poll in April/May this year.

On the other hand, the incumbent President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU PF party did not perform particularly impressively either - receiving a measly 35 percent approval rating.

That is very embarrassing and a huge indictment on both these political players.

As much as many of Zimbabwe political parties' diehard supporters may not want to hear me say these unpalatable truths - but the fact is that, none of them inspire much confidence in the ordinary citizenry.

I have made this assertion on numerous occasions - even going as far as revealing to everyone that the last time I actually participated in an election was in 2002 - some two decades ago.

Had I also been surveyed by Afrobarometer, I would have easily been one of those not choosing any of the political players in the country - as I honestly do not believe any one of them genuinely has the best interests of the people at heart.

Furthermore, neither is even capable of uplifting Zimbabweans out of the misery and torment they have been subjected to for nearly 25 years.

Let us begin with Mnangagwa and ZANU PF.

Are these not the same people who authored the untold suffering and poverty that millions of Zimbabweans find themselves cruelly trapped?

As it turns out, of late, most of my time is currently occupied by a thesis, which I am editing for a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) student at a renowned university in Germany.

That is why I have not been writing a lot lately.

Interestingly, the PhD candidate's thesis focuses on how the ruling elite in Zimbabwe has managed to consolidate power for so long, in spite of the unimaginable poverty afflicting the population.

It is quite clear that, the major reason ZANU PF can even still attract that paltry 35 percent - as reflected in the survey - is that Mnangagwa now survives purely out of the politics of patronage.

Let us be reminded that all those who responded to this Afrobarometer survey were not forced or under any duress - and neither were they intimidated to make a particular choice - as opposed to the norm during real elections in Zimbabwe.

Those who willingly (most times, albeit, reluctantly) vote for ZANU PF do so purely out of a desperate desire for little trinkets and favors - in most cases, handouts, donations or so-called 'empowerment projects'.

Nonetheless, in the greater scheme of things, these 'goodies' seldom develop the broader national economy - or, in so doing, improve the livelihoods of millions of ordinary Zimbabweans across the width and breath of the country.

They simply 'benefit' the targeted individuals.

Imagine a teacher earning a miserable US$250 a month, or a rural peasant who relies entirely on subsistence farming.

The only reason a person would vote for Mnangagwa is in desperate need of personal 'projects' (such as chicken rearing), or free agricultural inputs.

Any thoughts of rejecting the same government that is behind their misery and destitution - which pushed them into the desperation they find themselves, in the first place - becomes a bit tricky, as they fear completely losing even the little they are getting.

Let us remember that this - which I have learnt from my PhD thesis editing is referred to as neopatrimonialism - is a weapon designed by the ruling elite in order to keep the population indebted and beholden to them.

Surely, there is no way someone given a piece of agricultural land, or residential stand, or a vending stall at a flea market can dare oppose their own benefactor - no matter how much the ruling elite has destroyed the country - as doing so may lead to those benefits being withdrawn.

Nevertheless, such people will always be in the minority, since there is no way the political establishment can 'buy' millions of Zimbabweans.

That is why the Afrobarometer survey only shows 35 percent support for Mnangagwa.

As shown by the 65 percent who were unhappy with the direction the country was going - the vast majority of the ordinary citizenry are enduring indescribable pain and suffering - including grassroots ZANU PF supporters, who are in it just for the handouts and agricultural inputs, in order to ward off starvation.

The question becomes, why then is there no overwhelming support for the opposition, most particularly Chamisa and his CCC?

Surely, in the midst of so much misery and dissatisfaction, should it not be easy pickings for the opposition?

As I mentioned before, the last time I participated in an election in Zimbabwe was in 2002 - during the presidential plebiscite pitting ZANU PF's Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Morgan Richard Tsvangirai of the MDC.

The only other previous time was in the 2000 parliamentary elections.

In both cases, I voted for the MDC - which narrowly lost to ZANU PF.

Afterwards, as their (opposition) true colors began to emerge, in addition to taking charge of urban local authorities - it quickly became apparent they had bitten off more than they could chew and were incapable of governing.

Not only was it abundantly obvious to all,  who dared open their eyes, that the opposition exhibited the same dictatorial and power-greed traits as ZANU PF - but they were just as corrupt and incompetent.

This troubling characteristic has, most unfortunately, continued under the CCC - an offshoot of the MDC.

In typical ZANU PF fashion, the opposition has never run out of excuses as to their abysmal failure in providing basic services in our towns and cities - with some areas, as my own Redcliff, going for over a year without tap water.

Yet, there is never a shortage of cash or shady land deals that enable the local authority to procure expensive top-of-the-range motor vehicles for those in office - who are also building mansions for themselves, including in their rural homes.

Any who dare question or expose such nefarious activities is immediately branded a 'ZANU PF sympathizer', and a vitriolic onslaught unleashed upon them.

How different is that from ZANU PF 's propensity of accusing those who criticize the ruling elite's grand looting of our national resources and gross mismanagement as being 'unpatriotic Western-sponsored regime change agents and puppets'?

Zimbabweans are not blind to all these shenanigans - and, the Afrobarometer survey attests this fact.

What can not be denied is that, come 23rd August 2023, the country's harmonized elections will be characterized by massive voter apathy.

Zimbabweans clearly want Mnangagwa and ZANU PF out - but definitely not at any cost.

The last thing this country needs is to replace a rotten kleptomaniac oppressive regime with another one.

The ever-suffering people of Zimbabwe find themselves in a catch-22 dilemma.

Whatever we do in August - voting for ZANU PF, or the opposition, or merely staying at home - will lead to the same unenviable outcome.

We will continue suffering for the foreseeable future - irrespective of which party is in power.

Surely, this is a most depressing prospect to end this discourse.

- Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice advocate and writer. Please feel free to WhatsApp or Call: +263715667700 | +263782283975, or email:, or visit website:

Source - Tendai Ruben Mbofana
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