MDC questions Mugabe poll

2015-05-09 21:13
(City Press)

(City Press)

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Harare - The 63% of Zimbabweans who told pollsters they trusted President Robert Mugabe might have been too frightened to say anything else, a spokesperson for the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party suggested on Saturday.

Obert Gutu said the MDC took "very seriously" the results of a survey released this week that appeared to show the majority of Zimbabweans trusted long time leader Mugabe, 91, much more than they trusted the opposition in the southern African country.

The survey has been greeted with triumph by Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party, which rejects all claims that its victory in the last elections in 2013 was due in part at least to a combination of fear, rigging and an electoral playing field that was far from level.

Gutu said in a statement: "The majority of Zimbabweans are fearful and traumatised."

"While taking note of the [survey], the MDC also recognises the prevalence of fear and this, naturally, has got an impact on how people react to any questions of a political nature," Gutu added.

It is still a criminal offence to criticise the Zimbabwean president, who has been in power since independence in 1980.

The MDC spokesperson said significant changes had taken place within the MDC and Zanu-PF in the six months since the survey was carried out.

He pointed to the expulsion of 21 "rebel" MPs from the MDC who backed breakaway leader Tendai Biti and the split in Zanu-PF between those who support sacked former vice president Joice Mujuru and those who do not.

"It would be absolute fallacy to suggest that the majority of Zimbabweans, as of now, have more respect and support for the beleaguered and faction-ridden Zanu-PF political party," Gutu claimed.

But other critics say support for the MDC has weakened since a coalition government was in power between 2009-13.

Leader Morgan Tsvangirai appears to have lost popularity due to perceived lack of action while he was prime minister and allegations of a messy love life ahead of his second marriage in 2012.

News that three opposition leaders in the UK stepped down on Friday in the wake of a dismal showing in elections prompted inevitable comparisons with political parties in Zimbabwe.

"At least those who were annihilated are resigning unlike our own," said Zimbabwean Twitter user @mzidube26.

User @kudzani_ndlovu said: "I hope @mrtsvangirai is watching. You cannot lose 4 elections and refuse to resign."

Gutu said on Saturday: "We are in the process of rebuilding trust and confidence amongst Zimbabweans." 

Read more on:    mdc  |  zanu-pf  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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