The results of a recent survey of South Africans suggest that President Jacob Zuma’s statement on the Zimbabwean situation does not reflect the sentiments of the population of that country. Citizens of South Africa are almost unanimous in their conviction that Zanu (PF) did not achieve a landslide victory.
Mugabe disempowered: 77% say YES
Robert Mugabe’s iconic relevance for the African continent was dismissed by a massive majority of 87% of respondents. More than two-thirds of the population would like to see him stripped of authority. In rebuttal of popular opinion, that Africans are not willing to dethrone their hero (Mugabe), the survey points to the contrary: 87% did not subscribe to the notion that Robert Mugabe is an African Hero. In the Black population segment, 85% dismissed the proposition that Mugabe is a hero.
77% of the total sample maintain he should be overthrown and face charges for crimes against humanity.
Commissioned by a European based NGO and conducted by an international market research agency, the online survey was done from August 5 – 9, and comprised 1,000 South African citizens, with quotas set on gender, age, ethnicity and region to reflect national representative dimensions.
Most South Africans doubt the credibility of AU and SADC, with 40% and 44% respectively, delivering a clear verdict of non-credibility with a further 50% (AU) and 41% (SADC) demonstrating uncertainty with ratings between 4 and 7 (ambivalence).
On the outcome of the Zimbabwean crisis, nearly everyone is expecting intervention from the region or the international community to defuse the situation. Only a small percentage anticipates a wider crisis or open protest, or harbour hopes for a peaceful cooperation of the opposition. 17% fear an escalation.
A large majority (66%) disagreed with Zuma’s statement to the press in which he extended his profound congratulations to Mugabe on his successful re-election and urged all parties to accept the outcome. Non-endorsement of the statement was particularly pronounced in the 30 – 39 and over 50 age segments. Black and Mixed-Race citizens were predominantly not in agreement – 63% and 70% respectively.
A striking 93% do not believe in the Zanu (PF) 61% landslide victory. This claim to electoral victory is particularly implausible for the over fifties (98%).
Asked what the best approach to resolve the crisis might be, most frequent suggestions were a re-run of elections (45%) or an investigation (45%); both courses of remedial action under the auspices of the international community.
Only 5% echoed Zuma’s advice that people accept the results and go back to daily life. On the question of what they thought might ultimately happen in Zimbabwe, a determining majority of 96% said they expect an outside body will intervene and mediate to resolve the crisis.
Whilst hopeful that international intervention could lead to a resolution, one in three was apprehensive about a developing crisis with destabilizing effects for the entire Southern African region.