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AD40: Zimbabwe seen headed in the wrong direction, but president’s leadership approval steady

Eldred V. Masunungure 11 Aug 2015 Zimbabwe
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Key findings
  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of Zimbabweans say the country is heading in the wrong direction, a dramatic increase from 41% recorded in 2012. Less than one-third (31%) now say the country is on the right path.
  • Popular approval of MP job performance has plunged from 52% in 2012 to 39%, though this is still higher than the 31% approval recorded at the beginning of the GNU in 2009.
  • The president’s leadership performance rating is substantially higher than those of MPs and local government councillors. Close to six in 10 Zimbabweans (57%) “approve” or “strongly approve” of Mugabe’s job performance, only 2 percentage points lower than in 2012 and 33 percentage points higher than at the beginning of the GNU in 2009.

Most Zimbabweans express discontent with the overall direction of their country, deteriorating economic conditions, rising corruption, and the performance of their elected leaders – except for President Robert Mugabe.

According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, popular assessments of the country’s direction and of how members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors are doing their jobs are considerably more negative than in 2012, but a majority of Zimbabweans continue to approve of the president’s performance.

Overall, the public mood is no longer as positive as during the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009-2012, and MPs and local councillors – who are seen as “never” or “only sometimes” listening to what the people have to say – will clearly have to “pull their socks up” if they hope to endear themselves to their constituents in time for the 2018 elections.

Eldred Masunungure

Eldred V. Masunungure is the national investigator for Zimbabwe.