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Mugabe most popular figure in Zimbabwe – survey

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe addresses guests during celebrations marking his 90th birthday in Marondera, on February 23.  PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA |

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe addresses guests during celebrations marking his 90th birthday in Marondera, on February 23. AFP PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA   AFP

In Summary

  • President Mugabe enjoyed 70 per cent support in rural areas but only 43 per cent of the people in urban areas said they did not trust him.
  • Dr Alex Magaisa, a former adviser of ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said the survey should worry the opposition.
  • President Mugabe in 2013 shocked the opposition when he won the presidential elections resoundingly and restored his ruling Zanu PF party’s parliamentary majority.

President Robert Mugabe is the most popular public figure in Zimbabwe and is trusted by 63 per cent of the people, a recent survey has revealed.

According to results of the survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) and commissioned by Afrobarometer in November last year, the 91-year-old President Mugabe was the most popular among the country’s public officials and institutions.

The survey involved 1,200 people from the country’s 10 provinces.

President Mugabe enjoyed 70 per cent support in rural areas but only 43 per cent of the people in urban areas said they did not trust him.

Opposition supporters were trusted by 34 per cent of Zimbabweans, according to the survey.

The survey is likely to raise alarm bells among Zimbabwe’s opposition ranks.

President Mugabe in 2013 shocked the opposition when he won the presidential elections resoundingly and restored his ruling Zanu PF party’s parliamentary majority.

Dr Alex Magaisa, a former adviser of ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said the survey should worry the opposition.

“This has to be the grimmest statistic for the opposition leaders and their parties because it suggests that even without Zanu PF, they would still not be trusted by the people,” he said.

“Here serious questions must be asked why this is the case. It is not useful to bury heads in the sand.

“One would expect that, with its litany of failures, the opposition parties, would fare better than Zanu PF.

“But this survey suggests they enjoy a 20 per cent margin of trust ahead of their opposition rivals.”

The opposition accuses President Mugabe of regularly rigging elections to remain in power.

However, despite the economic problems facing Zimbabwe, the veteran ruler remains popular in rural areas.

President Mugabe is likely to stand for another five-year term in 2018. He has been in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980.

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