Voters now more perceptive- analyst

Chris Mahove

Political analyst Vivian Gwede says politicians must not take voters for granted as they have become more enlightened and cannot be fooled by freebies and false promises.

Gwede was responding to findings of a recent survey by pan African research network, Afrobarometer, which showed that vote buying in Zimbabwe did not sway the vote.

“Such surveys are also a wakeup call for politicians to begin to engage people on the basis of good policies as there are indications that voters are becoming more perceptive and enlightened.

He said, however, that such surveys also usually looked at what people said about themselves, adding that some people could find it inappropriate to admit that they sold votes as the practice was largely looked at with contempt.

“Otherwise vote buying wouldn’t so prevalent especially in rural areas if vote buyers did not find vote sellers. However, it is also true that there are instances where vote buying has not achieved expected outcomes for politicians where voters accept the goodies without meeting their side of the bargain in the ballot box,” he said.

Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme said such findings by Afrobarometer could not be disputed in the absence of alternative conclusions from another research that used superior methods.

 “That said, it’s true that vote buying and intimidation which are normally used in combination do influence electoral outcomes in Zimbabwe, the famous margin of fear from Prof Masipula Sithole. The question of voting for good policies also needs proper contextual nuancing as we know that most of our voters don’t even read policy documents of the candidates and most of the policies are not very grounded in research of the needs of the people,” he said

He noted, for example the 2018 elections, in which he said all the political parties that contested neither had good policy documents nor good manifestos.

“People tend to vote for a president of a party, the person, and then the name of the party for the rest!,” he said.

Afrobarometer is renowned for providing reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

In its latest survey released Wednesday, the research body noted that more than 8 in every ten or 83% of Zimbabwean voters preferred candidates whose policies they agreed to as opposed to those that offered them freebies and money or those who belonged to the same ethnic or religious group.

“More than eight in 10 Zimbabweans (83%) say they vote for candidates whose policies they agree with, rather than for candidates who give them gifts and money (33%) or belong to the same ethnic group (29%) or religious faith (20%),” noted the survey report.

The survey revealed that voting for candidates who give gifts and money or attend to personal needs, which was endorsed by 33% of respondents overall, was more popular in rural areas

(36%) than in cities (27%).

“Citizens with moderate lived poverty (37%) are more likely to favour this approach than those experiencing high or no/low lived poverty. Manicaland residents (44%) are almost three times as likely as their counterparts in Mashonaland West (16%) to say they would vote for someone who gives them gifts or money,” the report noted.

The survey, however, revealed that more than half (54%) of citizens also “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they voted for candidates from their own province.

“The inclination to vote for candidates from one’s own province is stronger among rural residents (57%) than urbanites (48%) and among women (57%) compared to men (50%). Manicaland (36%) and Mashonaland West (46%) are the only provinces where this is not the majority view,”

Allegations of vote buying, especially by ZANU PF party, have been raised in the past elections, with opposition parties and civil society organisations accusing the ruling party of using food and farming inputs to buy votes.

Voters now more perceptive- analyst

Chris Mahove

Political analyst Vivian Gwede says politicians must not take voters for granted as they have become more enlightened and cannot be fooled by freebies and false promises.

Gwede was responding to findings of a recent survey by pan African research network, Afrobarometer, which showed that vote buying in Zimbabwe did not sway the vote.

“Such surveys are also a wakeup call for politicians to begin to engage people on the basis of good policies as there are indications that voters are becoming more perceptive and enlightened.

He said, however, that such surveys also usually looked at what people said about themselves, adding that some people could find it inappropriate to admit that they sold votes as the practice was largely looked at with contempt.

“Otherwise vote buying wouldn’t so prevalent especially in rural areas if vote buyers did not find vote sellers. However, it is also true that there are instances where vote buying has not achieved expected outcomes for politicians where voters accept the goodies without meeting their side of the bargain in the ballot box,” he said.

Another political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme said such findings by Afrobarometer could not be disputed in the absence of alternative conclusions from another research that used superior methods.

 “That said, it’s true that vote buying and intimidation which are normally used in combination do influence electoral outcomes in Zimbabwe, the famous margin of fear from Prof Masipula Sithole. The question of voting for good policies also needs proper contextual nuancing as we know that most of our voters don’t even read policy documents of the candidates and most of the policies are not very grounded in research of the needs of the people,” he said

He noted, for example the 2018 elections, in which he said all the political parties that contested neither had good policy documents nor good manifestos.

“People tend to vote for a president of a party, the person, and then the name of the party for the rest!,” he said.

Afrobarometer is renowned for providing reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

In its latest survey released Wednesday, the research body noted that more than 8 in every ten or 83% of Zimbabwean voters preferred candidates whose policies they agreed to as opposed to those that offered them freebies and money or those who belonged to the same ethnic or religious group.

“More than eight in 10 Zimbabweans (83%) say they vote for candidates whose policies they agree with, rather than for candidates who give them gifts and money (33%) or belong to the same ethnic group (29%) or religious faith (20%),” noted the survey report.

The survey revealed that voting for candidates who give gifts and money or attend to personal needs, which was endorsed by 33% of respondents overall, was more popular in rural areas

(36%) than in cities (27%).

“Citizens with moderate lived poverty (37%) are more likely to favour this approach than those experiencing high or no/low lived poverty. Manicaland residents (44%) are almost three times as likely as their counterparts in Mashonaland West (16%) to say they would vote for someone who gives them gifts or money,” the report noted.

The survey, however, revealed that more than half (54%) of citizens also “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they voted for candidates from their own province.

“The inclination to vote for candidates from one’s own province is stronger among rural residents (57%) than urbanites (48%) and among women (57%) compared to men (50%). Manicaland (36%) and Mashonaland West (46%) are the only provinces where this is not the majority view,”

Allegations of vote buying, especially by ZANU PF party, have been raised in the past elections, with opposition parties and civil society organisations accusing the ruling party of using food and farming inputs to buy votes.

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