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Afrobarometer's High Popularity Index for Mugabe Sets Social Media on Fire

FILE: Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe addresses people gathered for his 91st birthday celebration in Victoria Falls, Feb. 28, 2015.

A new survey by Afrobarometer, a South African-based think tank, suggesting President Robert Mugabe still enjoys popular support in the country has stirred controversy in and outside the country, setting social media sites of fire as Zimbabweans differed on its findings.

The survey, conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute, found that 63 percent of those polled have “somewhat or a lot” of trust in President Mugabe and a number of state institutions like the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The majority of those polled also have trust in religious leaders, the army, the country’s courts of law and traditional leaders.

The survey found most of those polled did not trust opposition parties in the country.

Here’s a snapshot of some comments taken from social websites:

Brian wrote, “He is popular, he is charismatic. Why is Zimbabwe getting poorer everyday!!”

Wembabvu also wrote, “I wonder whether this survey was carried in Zimbabwe. Go into the streets of Harare today or any town in particular including the rural areas, if you are to throw a stone, the chances of you hitting and an MDC supporter are 80%. This clearly makes me doubt the results of this survey.”

For Mangwende, “The name Robert Mugabe is a brand as correctly highlighted and people can like that position or dislike it but even the Westerners know it. This is even evidenced by why he is the current chairperson for Africa (Union) and SADC (Southern African Development Community).”

And Moyo said, “People respect President Mugabe's contribution in the liberation struggle. He is consistent, whether you agree with him or not. There is also a feeling that he is sometimes let down by his team.”

For perspective reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke with director Sydney Chisi of the Youth Initiative for Democracy and political analyst Charles Mangongera, a former Mass Public Opinion Institute employee.

Mangongera said this organization’s polls must be analyzed in the context of the country’s political, economic and social situation.