By Tendai Mugabe
Harmonised elections slated for July 30 will be the most peaceful polls ever to be held in Zimbabwe, with 91 percent of respondents admitting that they had not experienced any political violence ahead of the plebiscite, a survey has confirmed.
At least 76 percent of the populace argued that there was no need for further electoral reforms being agitated for by some opposition political parties.
The survey — conducted by a Pan African think tank Leaders for Africa Network — showed that 71 percent of respondents welcomed the Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) system introduced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
Further, the survey also gave ZEC a thumbs up as an independent electoral body with 70 percent of the survey sample confirming that position.
Announcing the survey results in Harare yesterday, Leaders for Africa Network coordinator Mr Richard Mahomva said the objective of the survey was to persuade ZEC and other key election stakeholders to maintain a neutral role in executing their respective mandates and to give the international community a fair appreciation of Zimbabwe’s democratic landscape in the run-up to the 2018 harmonised elections.
At least 49 percent of the people interviewed said they would vote to preserve the status-quo, while 23 percent advocated change.
In a show of political maturity and tolerance, 80 percent of respondents said they had not witnessed any inter-party violence.
In this regard, the Leaders for Africa Network concluded that: “The feedback indicates a prevalence of peace as a result of growing political tolerance in Zimbabwe.
“This might also serve to highlight that there is no coercion being used to influence the voting process to favour any political party.”
The decisions being made by the people, according the survey, showed that people are making informed decisions because 80 percent of the respondents expressed their familiarity with the Electoral Act.
“The majority of respondents demonstrated their indepth understanding of the Electoral Act and its value in influencing a free and fair election. As well as its monitory role to the independence of ZEC,” findings of the survey revealed.
With regards to Zec’s adherence to the Electoral Act, the survey found out that the electoral body was following the Act to the latter with 81 percent of the respondents giving it thumbs up.
“The above findings articulate that ZEC has not diverted from its legal mandate as defined by the Constitution and the Electoral Act,” reads the survey findings.
Empirical evidence from the survey sample showed that political parties were getting fair coverage ahead of the polls with 71 percent of the survey sample saying they were satisfied with the coverage being given to their parties.
Respondents highly commended ZBC for wide and fair coverage of all political parties’ manifestos and campaign rallies across the country and indicated the need for the print media to improve on fair coverage of political parties’ activities.
In its findings, the survey also established that the army had an insignificant role to play in the elections.
At least 60 percent of the people interviewed said the army had no business in the elections.