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Zimbabweans want early elections


Dumisani Muleya

MOST Zimbabweans want fresh presidential and parliamentary elections urgently as a way to resolve the country’s crisis, a survey has revealed.



ONT face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The study, conducted by the Harare-based Mass Public Opinion Institute, an independent research organisation, says most people have an overwhelming desire for democratic reform and political change through elections.


“Most people want fresh elections and favour concurrent presidential and parliamentary polls,” the survey says.


“For the majority of people, the solution to the problems facing the country lies in dialogue. They expect the major parties (the ruling Zanu PF and opposition Movement for Democratic Change) to compromise and climb down from the positions so far maintained.”


The survey says 59,2% of the respondents want concurrent presidential and parliamentary elections and of these, 59,8% want such elections to be held immediately. At least 59,2% want constitutional amendments to facilitate change.


Zimbabwe’s presidential elections are held every six years and parliamentary polls after five years. Municipal polls are also held separately.

This has kept the country perpetually locked in electioneering.


The study says 51,3% of those polled nationwide want President Robert Mugabe “to retire now and pave way for fresh elections”.


“About 69,9% are in favour of the formation of a transitional government that would organise a re-run of the presidential elections. About 55,6% desire the formation of a government of national unity,” it says.


“But the majority of people embrace the idea of a vibrant democracy. Of the 39,8% who do not want a government of national unity, 40,5% say the existence of an opposition party is vital for a thriving democracy.”


(About) 40,5% say the MDC should not form a coalition with Zanu PF because “it is important to have an opposition for democracy to function effectively”. The poll said 36,1% do not trust Zanu PF and fear the MDC could be “swallowed”.


However, the research says people expect Zanu PF and the MDC to resolve the nation’s crisis through dialogue.


“At least 80,0% of respondents say the two parties should resume talks (while) 35,3% view both parties as currently not genuine in the negotiating process. (Nearly) 39,7% of the respondents feel there should be no conditions to these talks while 32,8% specifically say both parties should strike a compromise,” it says.


“With 38,9% and 36,8% opting for external and internal mediators respectively, it would appear that for most people the success of the talks lies in commitment from both parties.”


The survey points out that people are concerned about Mugabe’s current succession crisis.


“People want a democratic process in the Zanu PF succession issue. (About) 60,4% want the party to choose a successor as opposed to 14,5% who want President Mugabe to appoint one,” it indicates.


“If presidential elections were to be held today, (ex-Finance minister) Simba Makoni would be the Zanu PF candidate who would fare better against an opposition candidate.”

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