via Zims have lost faith in elected officials – The Zimbabwean 15.10.2015
If you have been wondering why Prophetic Healing Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya attracted a much bigger crowd than President Robert Mugabe during his recent visit to South Africa, then recent research findings by the International Republican Institute should give you a clue.
Zimbabweans simply have more faith in religious leaders than they have in constitutional bodies.
This is according to findings of the “Survey on Local Governance and Constitutionalism”, released by IRI in Johannesburg last week.
Findings regarding the public’s satisfaction with the performance of institutions and persons indicate that religious and traditional leaders scored better public trust than constitutional bodies that include law-enforcement agents and local authorities.
Religious leaders score a 38 per cent approval rating, followed by traditional leaders (26%), police (17%) and the political party supported by respondent (15%).
The judiciary, largely accused of executive influence, scored a 14 per cent approval rating, while civil society scored 12 per cent. The regional body SADC and the broader African Union both scored five percent – the lowest rating of the poll.
Custodians of GNU
Ironically these two bodies were the custodians of Zimbabwe’s government of national unity, which they brokered and guaranteed, but failed to see it achieve the necessary reforms.
“Religious leaders and traditional were most often accorded with performing very well, followed by the police, the political party (that respondents supported), local councillors and the judiciary, although it is noteworthy that a quarter of respondents could not comment on the performance of the judiciary,” reads part of the report, launched by Douglas Coltart, IRI’s Uhuru fellow.
“Women are more likely than are men to approve of the job that religious leaders do (43 per cent of women and 32 per cent of men strongly approved). Men were more likely than women to approve of the judiciary (17 per cent versus 11 per cent), although 30 per cent of women, as opposed to 19 per cent of men, did not know.”
Of those who could rate the performance of their member of parliament, slightly more disapproved than approved of their performance, while the opposite was true of ministers.
Commentators say the meaning of these findings could be two-pronged. It was a betrayal of both bad governance and the desperation in which Zimbabweans find themselves, especially with the political and economic crises having returned after the ill-fated 2013 elections that controversially thrust Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party back in charge of the country and its resources.
“Instead of us having a local government, we practically have people being governed locally by national government and that is why you have the Local Government Minister tempering with the local authorities and defying court orders,” said constitutional law expert Justice Mavedzenge.
“The constitution has a provision for the devolution of power but practically, that has not yet happened. The minister actually offended that principle when he recently fired an entire city council, something the High Court recently overturned. By refusing to adhere to the court ruling, the minister also defied both the court order and the constitution.” Andrew Nyathi, South African spokesman for the opposition Zapu, said people’s belief in religious leaders was a sign that Zimbabweans had become too desperate to look anywhere else for a solution.
“It is when people become helpless when you see them seek divine solutions to national problems and unfortunately, that is what we find ourselves in right now in Zimbabwe,” said Nyathi.
“We have believed so much in politicians and the government solving issues for us; we have believed in our own actions, but that has not worked. Cabinet ministers and parliamentarians themselves have led the way in calling for divine intervention and that shows you how desperate the leaders themselves are, let alone the public.”