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Over half of Zim has trust in polls: Survey

A RECENT survey by Afrobarometer showed that 59% of Zimbabweans trust that elections are a useful tool to choose political leaders.

A RECENT survey by Afrobarometer showed that 59% of Zimbabweans trust that elections are a useful tool to choose political leaders.

This comes a year after President Emmerson Mnangagwa won a poll against his closest rival Nelson Chamisa — the then leader of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC).

Mnangagwa garnered a 52,6% victory after getting 2,3 million votes, while Chamisa trailed behind at 44% from 1,9 million ballots cast.

The contentious polls, which were characterised by inadequate ballot papers and their late delivery, received adverse reports from election observer missions, including the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) team.

The bloc’s observer mission headed by former Zambian vice-president Nevers Mumba underscored that the polls did not conform to the dictates of Zimbabwe’s Constitution and a raft of other legislative provisions, including the Electoral Act.

Sadc’s observer mission report noted: “The mission observed that the pre-election and voting phases on 23rd to the 24th August harmonised elections were peaceful and calm.

“However, the mission noted that some aspects of the harmonised elections fell short of the requirements of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Electoral Act and the Sadc principles and guidelines governing democratic elections of 2021”.

Afrobarometer indicated that 53% of Zimbabwe’s electorate had confidence that elected legislators represented their views in the House of Assembly.

The survey sought to gauge whether the electorate in Africa perceive elections as an effective process to elect preferred political leadership.

Political analyst Reuben Mbofana commenting on the Afrobarometer survey results said Zimbabwe’s elections had lost credibility as a tool to elect legitimate leadership.

“I genuinely believe Zimbabweans do not regard elections as a useful and effective process to elect leadership of their choice. I say so because we have already seen the massive voter apathy during the by-elections held after the post-August 2023 recalls,” he said.

“This was unequivocal proof that people had lost faith in the electoral process.

“They felt betrayed by the recalling of their elected officials as well as the decimation of the main opposition.”

Zimbabwe’s electoral credibility, Mbofana added, could only be restored by strictly adhering to the constitution.

He said: “The biggest reform is to implement the country's constitution to the letter. What is merely lacking is the implementation, particularly aligning all our electoral laws to the constitution.

“These are the same issues raised by election observers, who were on the ground during the August 2023 elections. Once that is done, credibility to our elections can be restored.”

Zimbabwe’s long-standing history of disputed polls has been characterised by allegations of state-linked violence, intimidation and outright electoral fraud.

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