ZIMBABWE’s opposition parties have angrily rejected a report by South Africa-based think-tank Afro-barometer that shows President Robert Mugabe’s support growing among Zimbabweans.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
In interviews with NewsDay yesterday, opposition officials expressed disbelief at the results with some questioning the integrity of the think-tank.
“It is a pack of nonsense and these people (Afrobarometer) want to a use their names to peddle falsehoods because why would anyone commission such a study at this moment? It does not add any value,” National Constitutional Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku said.
“I am sure they are talking about some other society that is not Zimbabwe because nobody in this country trusts the army and the police. One can only do such a study in a free society and we are not in one. This country needs a free and fair election, not surveys that ask some respondents who do not even have an idea of who the opposition is.”
Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa was equally perplexed.
“Really, after what has happened over the years, including the events at Zanu PF’s congress from mid-last year up to the end, the issues to do with Mugabe’s ethnic hatred shown by his ‘Kalangas are uneducated criminals’ outburst, then someone comes up with such a survey? They must be using some substance and it calls into question their integrity not least their relevance in our society,” Dabengwa said.
Main opposition MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora also said they did not agree with the findings although they would not argue much.
“We do not agree with the finding that Mugabe and Zanu PF are popular, that the army is more popular than us cannot be true given the situation in the country. People are suffering and some have been tortured by the same institutions. These cannot then turn up as being better trusted than institutions that have done no wrong that try to provide better alternatives,” Mwonzora said.
“However, we are working hard as a party to strengthen our structures, re-invigorate then and position ourselves as the next government. We are not going to quarrel with figures, but I must say it is difficult to trust a political party that is not in government.”
However, the MDC Renewal Team said they accepted the survey as a challenge to work harder.
“Although we have our own reservations on certain issues, we respect Afro-barometer, it is a credible institution. It goes without saying that what Afro-barometer has produced should motivate us as a party to work hard and convince those sections of our society to understand the real situation because they have this far been hoodwinked by Mugabe and Zanu PF,” Jacob Mafume, the party’s spokesperson, said.
“It must be noted, however, that Mugabe is a master of populist dogma and this survey must be taken in the context of a predatory State that thrives on cowing people into submission through violence and other such unsavoury tricks, among them such red herrings as the land reform programme and the scrapping of debts owed to local authorities by the ordinary people.”
Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo said he was in a meeting.