via Reading much into poll survey could be misleading – NewsDay October 13, 2015
A whole host of theories have been thrown around following the latest poll survey by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) last week. With the exception of a few, many have taken the results of the institute’s survey as truth and, as a result, political theories have been formulated.
GUEST COLUMN,LEARNMORE ZUZE
Of critical importance is that the survey established that nearly half of the country’s adults would vote for the ruling Zanu PF party should elections be held now.
The survey went on to depreciate or more appropriately belittle opposition parties such as Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Welshman Ncube’s MDC and Zapu led by Dumiso Dabengwa indicating that support for these parties is gravitating towards zero. How Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party, still in its infancy, comes in fourth position ahead of established opposition parties really befuddles the mind.
His party is yet to compete in an election, yet for some reason, it has surged forward ahead of Ncube’s MDC in popularity. Notwithstanding the respectability of the institute, the findings of the poll seem to angle towards slurring opposition parties and it is understandable why MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwai would say: “We dismiss the cooked up survey report as silly, misleading and mischievous trash which should not be taken seriously by any serious minded Zimbabwean.”
While it cannot be denied that the opposition has been its worst enemy resulting from its perpetual bickering that has led to fragmentation, it is one thing all together to assert that their support base is slanting towards the zero mark. In this regard, Chihwayi also went on to express his party’s wrath, stating MPOI should desist from wasting Zimbabweans’ time “with their fake surveys (which are) designed to push the agendas of their sponsors”. Such anger is understandable coming from the opposition.
In my opinion, however, the single most dynamic factor that casts a dark shadow on the entire survey is the state of the Zimbabwean economy. The Zimbabwean economy has become the biggest determining influence in Zimbabwean politics and undoubtedly for the future. Politics, as it, can no longer be divorced from this critical factor, now that the electorate fully knows the significance of a functional economy.
Everything that can make Zimbabwe tick again hinges on the economy. In stark contrast, what the survey found is that half of Zimbabwe’s adult population would vote for the status quo. It is at this juncture that the poll starts to stray from logic. Would the majority really vote for the status quo, smouldering as things are?
With more than 80% of the adult population being jobless, would it make sense? With hundreds of thousands of graduates sun-bathing after graduating and many selling bottled water, would this survey still make sense? Also, in light of the fact that more than 25 000 people were forced into unemployment recently and industry is decaying at an alarming rate, would this survey still make sense?
To put the survey’s findings in a qualitative form means that the adult population is very much at home with the current state of things as opposed to seeking change.
Honestly, common sense, not opposition politics, would dispute the findings of the survey. No sane human being would want to perpetuate hunger. No rational parent would be happy seeing their graduate children playing pool every day. No right thinking person would be happy with the current economic crunch, whether we blame it on sanctions or mismanagement. It all does not add up, when a people subjected to hostilities on this land vouch for the continuation of their misery against all logic.
And now the question comes: supposing that the MPOI results are an accurate reflection of the truth, what could be the reason people would go on to perpetuate their own hunger, financial difficulties, unemployment and economic uncertainty?
Could Zimbabwe be a case of the psychological phenomenon known as the “Stockholm Syndrome” — the mystery of loving an unpleasant situation? In what became known as the “Stockholm Syndrome”, in Stockholm, Sweden a group of gunmen entered a bank, fired at the roof and took three women and one man hostage.
After their rescue, the hostages exhibited a shocking attitude, considering they were threatened, harassed, fed on a poor diet and lived in fear for five days. In their interviews with media, it was apparent they actually feared law enforcement personnel, who came to their rescue. It was shocking and recent studies in various fields continue to be surprised at the reality of the “Stockholm Syndrome”. The phenomenon defies logic. Could this be the case?
That fear is the decisive factor in Zimbabwean elections could be the only meaningful evaluation, assuming the poll is representative of the truth. Fear, particularly in the rural areas, has made the playing field uneven for years. Even those in urban areas are also a timid lot and would want little to do with political violence.
And as long as the fear factor remains in the picture, the status quo is guaranteed and the cries of Zimbabweans will continue to reverberate throughout the world. A call for electoral reforms cannot be further emphasised.
●Learnmore Zuze is a legal researcher, author and media analyst. He writes here in his own capacity. E-mail:email@example.com