- ▪ More than half (53%) of Zimbabweans say they would prefer that their upcoming election be peaceful, even if not completely free and fair, rather than be free and fair but not peaceful. Only one-third of citizens (33%) would prioritise free and fair over peaceful (Figure 1).
- ▪ More women than men value a peaceful election more highly than a free and fair election (56% vs. 50%), while different age groups hold similar views (Figure 2).
- ▪ Rural (54%) and urban (52%) residents differ little in their prioritisation of peaceful over free and fair elections (Figure 3).
- ▪ Manicaland (70%), Mashonaland East (67%), and Harare (65%) record the greatest proportion of respondents who prefer a peaceful election, even if it’s not entirely free and fair, while this view is least popular in Bulawayo (21%) (Figure 4).
- ▪ A majority of supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF (59%) value a peaceful election more highly than a free and fair election, while supporters of the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change are split (46% for a peaceful election vs. 40% for a free and fair election) (Figure 5).
A majority of Zimbabweans say they would rather have peaceful elections, even if they are not completely free and fair, than free and fair elections that are not peaceful, a recent Afrobarometer survey shows.
The preference for peaceful over free and fair elections is particularly widespread in Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces and Harare, as well as among women and supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party.
Zimbabweans will go to the polls on 23 August to elect a president, members of Parliament, and local government councillors amid accusations of a government crackdown on the opposition. Past elections have been marred by violence, including the deaths of six protesters following voting in 2018. Most observers have called for an election that is free and fair as well as peaceful.