‘Zimbabweans Fear Election-Related Violence’

‘Zimbabweans Fear Election-Related Violence’
Published: 2016 September 07 08:28:54 (2615 Views)



MOST Zimbabweans still fear violence during elections while the country's electoral system does not allow opposition parties to campaign freely, a report by a regional think tank, Afrobarometer has revealed.

Despite a marked improvement in public perceptions of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), the country is still ranked below average in a survey conducted in 36 African countries.

"With regard to elections in 2017 and 2018, there are warning signs for Kenya and Zimbabwe, as less than half (46%) of citizens trust the electoral commission in these countries, which have experienced high levels of election-related violence in the past," the Afrobarometer report released yesterday reads.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 36 countries in Africa. About 54 000 people were interviewed across the continent.

According to the report, citizen perception on the electoral integrity in Zimbabwe remained very low, with 61% fearing violence during elections, of which 25% are very afraid, compared to 39%, who are not afraid at all.

"Only one-third (34%) of Africans think votes are 'always' counted fair. Several countries, with a history of election-related violence, express low levels of confidence in the vote count, including Ghana (28%), Kenya (26%), Zimbabwe (22%), and Nigeria (6%)," the report said.

Zimbabwe has the second worst record of preventing opposition parties from campaigning freely, at 61% only behind Ivory Coast which tops with 64%.

Botswana has the least record of frustrating opposition parties with 22%.

About 57% Zimbabweans think there has been unfair media coverage, which is ranked fifth in Africa, where Gabon tops. Most Zimbabweans, the report added, always think they are bribed to vote.

Most Zimbabweans also doubt the role of elections in removing underperforming leaders in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe, however, had a 10% increase in trust for Zec from 2011 to the 2015 general elections, where 21% said they don't faith in the electoral body at all, compared to 25% who said they trusted it a little, signalling a rise from 29% in 2005 to 46% in 2015.

Of the 56% that said the previous 2013 elections were free and fair, 63% were from rural areas compared to 43% from urban centres.






- News Day
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