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Majority of Zimbabweans Say Country Going Wrong Direction

FILE: Emmerson Mnangagwa, second left, with Army General Constantino Chiwenga, second right, inspects the military parade after being sworn in as President at the presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 24, 2017.

Zimbabweans say economic conditions are bad and the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to Afrobarometer.

In a survey conducted in the country by the Mass Public Opinion Institute between 16 April and May 1, 2021, involving 1,200 adult citizens with a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points, 67% of Zimbabweans said the country is going in the wrong direction.

“Large majorities say the government is performing badly on creating jobs (91%), keeping prices stable (78%), improving living standards of the poor (75%), and other issues.”

Only slightly more than one-third are optimistic about the coming year.

They survey indicates that most Zimbabweans went without a cash income at least “several times” during the past year, and about half experienced repeated shortages of food, clean water, and medical care.

Despite the low ratings on the country’s economic conditions, the public gave a thumbs-up to the government for its response to COVID-19 despite concerns about some of the measures which saw citizens losing jobs and sources of income.

“Zimbabweans broadly commend the government for its response to the COVID-19 pandemic: 81% say it managed the response “fairly well” or “very well,” and 84% say it kept the public informed. Four out of five respondents (81%) endorse lockdowns and school closures to curb the spread of COVID-19, although most say lockdowns were difficult to comply with and schools should have reopened much sooner.

“Almost half (47%) of Zimbabweans say they lost a job, business, or primary source of income due to COVID-19. Half (51%) of citizens say it is justified for the government to temporarily limit democratic freedoms by postponing elections or limiting political campaigning during a health emergency.”

The survey further indicates that government received its lowest rating on job creation and a majority gave it low marks on other indicators.

Considerably more Zimbabweans trust Non-Governmental Organizations (79%) and religious leaders (78%) than trust the president (48%), members of Parliament (44%), or the police (38%).

Non-elective institutions enjoy the most trust from the citizens.

A small majority say they feel close to a political party and ZANU-PF has an edge over the main opposition if presidential elections were held tomorrow.

“More than half (54%) of Zimbabweans say they feel close to a political party. About a quarter (27%) of citizens say they feel close to ZANU-PF, while a fifth (20%) say they feel close to MDC-Chamisa. If presidential elections were held tomorrow, one-third (33%) of respondents say they would vote for the ZANU-PF candidate, compared to one-fourth (26%) who say they would vote for the MDC-Chamisa candidate. About four in 10 refused to answer, say they would not vote, or say they don’t know.”

On a positive note, 57% of Zimbabweans commend government efforts to prevent or resolve violent conflict.

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