Alex Tawanda Magaisa has said opposition MDC Alliance should not ignore findings of Afrobarometer’s 8th round of surveys on public attitudes regarding democracy and governance conducted in Zimbabwe.
Magaisa, a former Chief of Staff in the office of the late former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says while Afrobarometer, a major research network, reported that most respondents to the survey observed that MDC-T was not the main opposition political party in the land, there are some findings that must not be ignored. Said Magaisa:
_While most MDC Alliance supporters were excited by the findings of Afrobarometer showing the marginal presence of MDC-T, they shouldn’t ignore the less palatable findings. For example, perceptions of how the government has handled the pandemic shouldn’t be underestimated._
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_Afrobarometer found that 81% agreed with the lockdown measures. This may confound some people but remember this survey considered lockdowns last year when most of the world was unsure and scared of the new virus. 81% felt the government had done well in the circumstances._
_The findings also show that more people were tolerant of the restrictions of democratic rights and freedoms. Again this may be explained by the fear of what seemed to be an existential threat to the nation & humanity. But the regime has & may continue to exploit this tolerance._
_The problem for the opposition is that citizens may habituate to these restrictions of rights & freedoms. Governments are very happy to limit freedoms & if people adjust to the abnormal caused by the pandemic, the restrictions will become a permanent feature._
_The government faces 2 problems: first, to convince people to get vaccinated. This is problematic because the survey showed that most people are sceptical about the safety of vaccines. So far it’s voluntary but will the government use command & what will be the impact?_
_The 2nd is self-inflicted: corruption. The survey showed that more people think that resources meant to fight COVID-19 were looted by corrupt politicians. This falls into the wider vice that has afflicted this regime which has earned a reputation of corruption._
_Unfortunately, the survey did not enquire into public attitudes about the opposition and its response to the pandemic. The pandemic has been hard for opposition parties. They could not be seen opposing lockdowns when there was an existential threat._
_But some opposition parties have been creative and have found a rich seam where ruling parties have bungled their handling of the pandemic, the cronyism & corruption, & generally holding government to account. The Zimbabwean opposition could draw lessons from that._
More: Pindula News