Poll Shows Zimbabweans Want Elections and Democratic Constitution

Washington

A public opinion survey released today showed that Zimbabweans have limited knowledge of their Constitution, but they want democratic safeguards, such as presidential term limits and an independent judiciary.
 
“The democratic instincts of the Zimbabwean people are reflected throughout the survey. For example, most Zimbabweans accept the Inclusive Government but only as a temporary arrangement,” said Daniel Calingaert, Freedom House Deputy Director of Programs. “They want elections within the next two years.”
 
The survey, Public Attitudes Towards Transition in Zimbabwe, which was sponsored by Freedom House and conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI), interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1200 adult Zimbabweans in the last quarter of 2009. The interviews were conducted in all 10 provinces in the respondents’ language of choice.
 
Key findings of the survey include:
 
  • 3 in 4 respondents say their economic conditions have improved in the past year
  • Most respondents consider power sharing a second-best solution (43%) or a bad alternative to competitive elections (33%)
  • 73% want elections within the next two years
  • A majority (53%) expect the next elections to be generally free and fair
  • 61% of respondents have never heard of the Constitution
  • Large majorities of ZANU-PF supporters favor presidential term limits (60%) and an independent judiciary (78%)
  • 4 in 5 ZANU-PF supporters say violence is never justified
  • 35% of respondents have suffered political intimidation or harassment since 1980
  • Partisan differences on transitional justice issues are significant: MDC supporters prefer to reveal the truth about political crimes then to forget to past (by 64% to 35%) while ZANU-PF supporters prefer the opposite (by 56% to 42%)
  • Similarly, MDC supporters favor punishment (66%) over amnesty (24%) for perpetrators who confess, while ZANU-PF supporters prefer amnesty (46%) over punishment (38%)
  • Victims of political intimidation or harassment favor punishment over amnesty by 70% to 24%
Zimbabwe is ranked Not Free in the 2009 edition of Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s survey of political rights and civil liberties.
 
For more information about Zimbabwe, visit:
 
 
Freedom House, an independent nongovernmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world, has been monitoring political rights and civil liberties in Zimbabwe since 1980.
 
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