Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
A South Africa-based pro-MDC-T think tank Afrobarometer, says President Mugabe still enjoys popular trust among Zimbabweans, a development that analysts attributed to President Mugabe’s good and consistent leadership at a time when the beleaguered MDC-T is trying to paint the picture of a political crisis.
The group also gives thumbs up to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and other state institutions.
This is despite a brutal and sustained campaign by opposition functionaries to tarnish the President’s image at any given platform.
In any case, Afrobarometer, which traditionally produced damning reports about Zimbabweans and its leader condemned opposition parties to murky political dustbins as the least trusted institutions in the country.
In a survey titled “Public perceptions on corruption” published on Tuesday, Afrobarometer said at least 63 percent of Zimbabweans surveyed trust President Mugabe adding that he still enjoys popular support in the rural areas where a colossal 70 percent endorsed him.
The survey further pointed out that the President had made major inroads in the urban centres, which had been for long controlled by MDC-T, a development that probably explains why MDC-T leaders have chickened out parliamentary by-elections due on June 10.
It found that at least 45 percent of the urban population trust President Mugabe and support by gender showed that 62 percent of males in the country trusted him while 64 percent of women trusted him.
Zanu-PF as a party according to the survey enjoys the trust of 54 percent Zimbabweans.
The survey also notes that religious leaders are also influential in the country well above the influence of opposition political parties.
“Opposition political parties are least trusted,” reads part of the survey report.
“Only a third of the population trusts them.”
According to the survey, the electoral body is trusted by 46 percent of the population in the country while other state institutions also command respect of enormous proportion.
This, analysts said was an indicator of President Mugabe’s sound leadership.
Harare based political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa said: “The brand Robert Mugabe is sellable and since 2013 the President’s support and that of Zanu-PF has been increasing exponentially.
“President Mugabe’s leadership has always been consistent. This increase in support has always been expected given President Mugabe’s pro-people and progressive support.”
Mr Mureriwa said even at continental level President Mugabe commanded huge respect because of his Pan Africanism stance.
“The more the West hates President Mugabe, the more the people of Zimbabwe and the region loves him,” he said.
Midlands State University lecturer Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri, said there was major transformation in the country that warranted recognition.
He said media reforms including licensing of several newspapers and the opening up of the broadcasting sector were some of the noteworthy developments.
“If we continue in that direction, we will get more supporters,” he said.
“That institutional transformation has always been a critical factor in the whole scheme of things.”
Prof Mhiripiri, however, said it was important to interrogate why such pro-Western organisations were praising Zimbabwe at this point in time.
“It is recognition by non State actors but we should locate it in its real context,” he said.
“Why at this moment have they decided to give a positive report on Zimbabwe because they are known for publishing negative reports on Zimbabwe?”