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Vote Buying now a Less Effective Campaign Tool

Only ⅓ of rural voters still vote for candidates who give them gifts

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THE latest Afrobarometer survey on the voting public has shown that Zimbabweans will vote for politicians that present strong policies rather than those that seek to “buy votes” through handouts.

But the latest Afrobarometer survey by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) states that a majority of citizens say they favour candidates from their own provinces, and their preferences are now along regional lines.

“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%). More than half (54%) of citizens also ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ that they vote 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.”

The research also revealed that vote-buying was more likely to woo rural voters than those living in towns.

“Voting for candidates who give gifts and money or attend to personal needs, which is endorsed by 33% of respondents overall, is 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.”

Political commentator Farai Gwenhure said vote-buying was rampant in rural areas because of high poverty levels.

“I do not know where they conducted their survey, but in most poverty-stricken communities, politicians have been thriving on vote-buying and they have been winning.”

In February, President Emmerson Mnangagwa donated dozens of bicycles and fishing boats to people in Binga, a few days before the March 26 by-elections. In the run-up to the March 26 by-elections this year, Zanu PF’s candidate for Bulawayo ward 21, Janet Moyo, also distributed 50kg bags of mealie-meal to party supporters.

In Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency in Mutare, Zanu PF’s National Assembly candidate Esau Mupfumi doled out money and food hand-outs in a bid to gain votes. In Epworth, the party’s National Assembly candidate Zalerah Makari dished out mealie-meal to would-be voters.

Bryan

Person for people. Reader of writings. Writer of readings.

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