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Freedom House Survey Shows Zimbabweans Looking Forward to Elections

  • Benedict Nhlapho

Conducted by Afrobarometer and the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe polled 1,200 people in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces and found that 73% wanted a new and freely elected government within two years

A survey commissioned by Washington-based Freedom House and released in South Africa on Friday showed a majority of Zimbabweans desiring democratic safeguards including a presidential term limits and an independent judiciary.

A majority wanted to see new elections held within two years.

VOA Studio 7's Benedict Nhlapho reported from Johannesburg.

Conducted by Afrobarometer and the Mass Public Opinion Institute of Zimbabwe polled 1,200 people in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces and found that 73% wanted a new and freely elected government within two years.

Most respondents saw the current power-sharing arrangement between the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a temporary, second-best solution compared with another round of national elections.

But the survey found three in four Zimbabweans pleased with the progress achieved by the unity government on the economic front.

Unveiling the survey in Johannesburg, Freedom House Deputy Programs Director Daniel Calingaert said the data will provide a critical tool for the unity government in mapping the way forward for the country.

The survey revealed interesting differences of opinion between supporters of the MDC and ZANU-PF. Among MDC supporters, 64% want those who committed political violence in 2008 to admit to their crimes, but 56% of ZANU-PF backers want to leave the past behind and move forward.

Two-thirds of MDC supporters demand that the perpetrators of such violence be prosecuted, but nearly half of ZANU-PF supporters said they believed that amnesty should be granted for such crimes. Yet 78% of self-identified ZANU-PF supporters said violence is never

Freedom House analyst Charles Mangongera said the survey shows a growing hunger for democratic principles within ZANU-PF ranks.

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