RESULTS of a new survey by think-tank International Republican Institute (IRI)’s Africa division, have revealed that the majority of Zimbabweans no longer expected their elected officials to possess liberation war credentials.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
The survey results released this week also showed that while the country’s securocrats have consistently harped on the need for leaders to have served in the war of liberation which ushered in Zimbabwe’s Independence 35 years ago, ordinary citizens just preferred technocrats.
According to the report: “Women are more interested in traditional leaders having liberation credentials than are men, with 70% of men and 61% of women saying that such credentials are not important. Corresponding figures with respect to liberation credentials for locally elected leaders were 74% and 63% men and women respectively saying that this does not matter,” said the report in its findings.
Of the over 1 215 respondents polled, 33%, according to the report’s findings, prefer their local traditional leaders and 27% prefer their locally-elected leaders to have liberation war credentials.
“There were significant differences between those living in rural areas (32% regarding local traditional leaders and 28% regarding locally-elected leaders) and those in urban areas (25% regarding local traditional leaders and 23% regarding locally-elected leaders).
“There were significant differences in perceptions between those who live in either of the two largest cities, Harare and Bulawayo, too, with 31% of the former but only 12% of the latter wishing that traditional leaders had liberation credentials and with perspective figures of 28% and 11% regarding liberation struggle credentials for elected leaders,” IRI said.
In remarks that analysts say were aimed at main opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the country’s military top brass then led by the late Vitalis Zvinavashe declared “the country’s Presidency is a strait-jacket” preserved for people who fought in the guerilla war and that “we would never salute anyone without liberation war credentials” on the eve of the 2002 presidential poll.
The report also said 80% of those interviewed prefer their traditional leaders to have at least secondary level education.
This comes amid reports that most officials elected into public offices such as local authorities and Parliament did not have secondary education certificates and were experiencing difficulties to articulate issues.
Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda recently told visiting students that some MPs were having problems grasping technical issues related to their legislative duties due to their limited education.