Fidelis Munyoro, Harare Bureau
Only three out of 10 provinces in the country support the grand coalition being proposed by opposition parties, pointing to a monumental loss to Zanu-PF in the 2018 harmonised elections, a respected research network has revealed.
According to a survey conducted by Afrobarometer, a pan-African, a non-partisan research network, only the traditional MDC-T strongholds — Harare, Bulawayo and Matabeleland North were rallying behind the coalition.
The Afrobarometer survey is supported by former MDC-T top official turned academic Dr Toendepi Shonhe who has, in his recent research, predicted grand defeat for the proposed coalition of opposition parties in next year’s harmonised elections.
Contributing in the Gravitas Volume 1. Issue 7 released on May 2, 2017 courtesy of the Institute for Public Affairs in Zimbabwe (IPAZ), Dr Shonhe said the opposition parties suffered ideological bankruptcy and donor fatigue.
The Afrobarometer research painted a gloomy picture awaiting the proposed coalition.
“Support for the coalition proposal is stronger among urban residents, better-educated citizens, and men than among rural dwellers, less educated respondents, and women,” said Afrobarometer.
“Majorities favour the idea in just three of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces — the traditional opposition strongholds of Bulawayo (64 percent), Harare (62 percent) and Matabeleland North (54 percent).”
The survey comes in the wake of MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s countrywide tour dubbed “president’s listening tour” in March this year.
The tour saw him meeting people who made their contributions to issues relating to political alliances ahead of the elections next year.
Our Harare Bureau revealed at the time that some MDC-T povinces had rejected the proposed coalition during Mr Tsvangirai’s tours, but he defied them and went on to sign agreements with some of the opposition parties to formulate the alliance.
The Afrobarometer survey vindicates President Mugabe’s remarks while addressing the 105th Zanu-PF Central Committee last month where he said the mooted coalition would lead to a grand defeat of the oppostion parties.
“They have tried this and that, been together, they split again, they talk of coalitions,” said President Mugabe. “We shall make them talk all kinds of languages, that is what Zanu- PF is capable of doing when we are united and doing our own thing.
“We look with glee, we look with joy as they daily turn on each other, and while pretending to chase a mirage they have termed grand coalition, apparently unaware of the grand defeat that stares them in the face.”
Afrobarometer conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa.
Six rounds of surveys were conducted in 37 African countries between 1999 and 2016, and Round 7 surveys (2016/2017) are currently underway.
Afrobarometer conducts face to face interviews in the language of the respondent’s choice, with nationally representative samples.
The Afrobarometer team in Zimbabwe is led by Mass Public Opinion Institute.
It interviewed 1 200 adult Zimbabweans between January 28 and February 10 2017 for the purposes of this latest survey.