HARARE – Although opinion polls can sometimes be misleading, both Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance are being naive by completely ignoring the results of recent surveys suggesting Zimbabweans are hoping for a coalition government.
According to a poll conducted by the online data analysis organisation, Afrobarometer, there will be no clear winner in next Monday’s harmonised elections.
The latest surveys suggest Zanu PF leader and incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa will win 40 percent of the vote while MDC Alliance front man Nelson Chamisa will get 37 percent.
According to the Constitution, a candidate needs 50 percent plus one vote to win the presidential race.
If this scenario plays out, then Mnangagwa and Chamisa will go into a second round run-off with the winner becoming the president, regardless of the percentage of victory.
In the same surveys, a majority of Zimbabweans believe that the best bet for the economy to improve, is if there is a government of national unity (GNU).
After decades of economic ruin under the stewardship of former president Robert Mugabe, the economy improved significantly during the GNU period between 2009 and 2013 in which Zanu PF shared power with the late Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.
Before the GNU, Zimbabwe’s GDP stood at -9,9 percent before picking to an all-time high of 11,9 percent in 2011.
During that period, the economy was now growing at a rate of 8,9 percent while US dollars were readily available in banks.
Supermarkets were once again full of groceries, fuel shortages quickly disappeared signalling an economy on the mend.
However, a Constitutional Court challenge by Jealousy Mawarire compelled Mugabe to proclaim elections in 2013, sparking the chaos we find ourselves in today.
Mugabe romped to victory in a discredited one-man run-off after which the economy took another major nosedive.
Zimbabweans are simply yearning for another period of stability like the GNU period between 2009 and 2013.
People just want to be able to withdraw their hard-earned cash from banks without any restrictions, access to medication and quality healthcare, to be able to pay their DStv accounts without having to buy US dollars at an exorbitant fee on the black market among other things.
These are simple basic necessities that have become pipe dreams, owing to the poor state of the economy.
Sadly, both Mnangagwa and Chamisa have shot down the idea of forming a coalition government after next Monday’s election.