Analysis shows a decline in public sentiment towards Mugabe and his wife

2017-11-21 09:46
President Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

President Robert Mugabe (File: AP)

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Johannesburg – An analysis of social media has revealed that public sentiment towards Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace was declining.

Brandseye – a mining opinion data gathering company - used social analytics to analyse views expressed by Zimbabweans on social media from November 9 to 16.

It looked at 28 737 mentions from 4 012 authors, who identified their location as Zimbabwe. This included 64 press articles and 28 673 Zimbabwean citizens’ opinions.

It stated that both Robert and Grace Mugabe had strongly negative net sentiment at -33% and -24.9% respectively.

Grace Mugabe saw a spike in positive sentiment on 12 November, due to the Zanu-PF’s Youth League endorsement for the position of vice president.

Brandseye claimed that there has been a muted response to the intervention of Zimbabwean security forces and the coup in general.

It stated that Zimbabweans have been largely neutral.

That said – the net sentiment expressed towards the coup has been positive at 8.7%.

"Netizens have praised the peaceful nature of the unfolding events. Perhaps reflective of this peaceful nature, humour has also been central in mentions that are positive towards the coup."

Sentiment towards the security forces in Zimbabwe has been slightly more negative than the coup in general, with a net sentiment of -0.4%.

There was a significant decline in net sentiment on November 14, where citizens questioned the validity of a transition driven by the military, including the fact that Zanu-PF factionalism was being played out through the Zimbabwean Defence Forces.

Mugabe faced the threat of impeachment by his own party on Monday.

He still holds power in Zimbabwe despite a military takeover and a noon deadline to end his 37-year autocratic rule.

In a televised address late on Sunday, the 93-year-old veteran leader defied expectations that he would resign, pitching the country into a second week of political crisis.

The speech provoked anger and disbelief among many Zimbabweans, fuelling concerns that Mugabe could face a violent backlash.

His once-loyal Zanu-PF party - which has already sacked him and told him to resign as head of state - warned it would seek to impeach him if he failed to quit by noon.

The party has yet to comment on its next steps.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  grace mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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