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Opposition must wise up


The Afrobarometer survey that gave Zanu PF candidate President Robert Mugabe a projected massive win against an opposition coalition in the 2018 polls has generated debate with political parties rubbishing the findings.

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The survey, conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute for Afrobarometer, raised pertinent issues that could assist the opposition to strategise on how to galvanise support against the ruling party.

Regrettably, some in the opposition believe the findings are tilted in favour of Zanu PF. Clearly, the questions around the methodology of research and demographics used in sampling the survey are inevitable.

For some, the survey ignores variables that are important like the issue of fear that might distort the real political sentiments people harbour especially in rural areas.

But surveys are, by nature, important as they give one an indication of where we are going as a nation for planning purposes.

According to MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu although they respect the findings, the political situation in the country “is unique” and clouded with fear, hence the findings would “be totally proven wrong”.

Perhaps his argument is justified, but the opposition must be warned that just before the last harmonised elections, another survey projected a Zanu PF landslide and the opposition just rubbished the findings.

We believe that the fundamental objective for the opposition is to understand why people still trust Zanu PF despite the ailing economy in which bank queues have become the order of the day — a grim reminder of the 2008 situation in which people slept on pavements to access their hard-earned money.

There are other clear challenges affecting the people that could be directly linked to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s misgoverance, and yet the majority continue to entrust their lives in the ruling party. The opposition should not always think that these challenges are enough to push the majority poor to vote for them, no, they have to sweat it out for space with every political party including Zanu PF.

Therefore, it is important for the opposition to show leadership in a poisoned political environment pregnant with electoral violence, intimidation, electoral fraud and corruption, among others.

We urge the opposition to interrogate reasons why Zimbabweans do not seem to support them yet they believe it’s a given that all the suffering majority are their supporters.

There is no doubt that the survey stated that a majority (63%) is unhappy with the country’s economic condition and almost half (48%) of the adult population thinks that the situation is worse than it was 12 months ago, while a majority (56%) is not also not satisfied with their own present personal living conditions.

What this points to is the fact that the voters understand the situation they find themselves in but still do not see a change of fortune even if they vote for the opposition in the next election. Afrobarometer has in the past done surveys that have proven to be correct especially the one in 2012 for the 2013 presidential elections which predicted Mugabe’s landslide win.

At that time the opposition again, as always, dismissed the findings, but were proved wrong after the elections.

We believe the opposition would do itself a favour by interrogating the questions around strategies they can employ to counter Zanu PF’s winning formula.

Besides pragmatism, we have no doubt that the opposition will lick its wounds once more if they do not right their past wrongs.

Give the research the benefit of the doubt, but do not wish it away. This is no monkey business.

The opposition must wise up, period!

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