ZIMBABWE – The findings of a survey conducted by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) and published by the various newspapers last week, caught my attention and got me wandering about the motivation of the research.
Of particular interest in this discussion is that President Mugabe is popular and feared.
It is something that is known and even previous surveys, including the Afrobarometer and others have acknowledged President Mugabe’s popularity to the extent that I doubt very much if the subject warranted a survey.
It must be borne in mind that it is not a survey or results of a research that make the President popular, but rather the people in acknowledgement of the enormous work Cde Mugabe and Zanu-PF have done over the years.
President Mugabe’s popularity needs not be measured by any survey or research of any kind because it is anchored on his party’s ability, over many years, to produce and implement policies that resonate with the aspirations of the people.
That President Mugabe is hugely popular and loved by the people is something we have known for years.
The survey research has thus failed to add new knowledge to the existing body of knowledge as it has simply regurgitated the view that the majority of Zimbabweans commonly hold.
It is not a discovery that President Mugabe is popular and loved by the people, no, it needs no rocket scientist to know that he has been in power since 1980 with the electorate re-electing him against the many opposition parties that have mushroomed.
That feat can only be achieved by a person who is popular and loved by his people, and not feared.
For over three decades, President Mugabe and Zanu-PF have been winning elections resoundingly against Western-funded opposition political parties, the MDC in particular, largely because of its pro-poor policies.
It is these policies and their implementation, which have done much to empower the masses, that have made Zanu-PF a solid and unshakable party.
I do not expect Zanu-PF to be excited by the “findings’’ of the MPOI survey because the results have always been in the public domain with several other bodies having produced similar results showing that President Mugabe remains very popular and loved by Zimbabweans, despite demonisation by imperialists.
There are a lot of things that the President and Zanu-PF have done for the people that make the people love them.
The things are not abstract, but very tangible.
I will breakdown some of the many things that have made President Mugabe popular.
Soon after independence, Zanu-PF, as the ruling party, introduced a housing scheme for everyone, which saw thousands of people getting houses.
There was a Government housing scheme that rolled out flats to the people under the supervision of the late Cde Enos Chikowore, who was Local Government Minister and today, many people are landlords.
Years later, around the year 2000 thereabout, President Mugabe and Zanu-PF embarked on land reform that benefited over 300 000 people, making them, for the first time, land owners of very fertile and arable land, which for many years had been a preserve of white farmers.
For doing the right thing, President Mugabe was demonised, left, right and centre by the West for giving the majority of Zimbabweans land that rightly belonged to them, which the whites were simply holding on to.
President Mugabe did not stop at parcelling out land to the previously marginalised people, but went on to provide free inputs under the Farm Inputs Scheme that was administered by the Grain Marketing Board.
Farmers received seed, fertiliser, chemicals, fuel and tillage services through the District Development Fund as President Mugabe acknowledged that the farming equation would not have been complete if people were to be given land without the crop inputs.
What all these policies were doing was to increase the love the people had for the President and growing his popularity.
He was not doing this for popularity ratings, but it was in line with the party’s manifesto.
Around the year 2007-08, President Mugabe and Zanu-PF launched the Farm Mechanisation Programme that benefited thousands of farmers with an assortment of farm machinery and equipment, things most farmers had never dreamt of owning in their entire lives.
The question to the MPOI is what would all this do to the popularity of President Mugabe?
What would it do to the love the people have for him?
I believe, the MPOI thinks this would instil fear in the people. What a myth!
Then came the indigenisation programme, which is still ongoing, in which we have been able to create a lot of entrepreneurs by setting up a youth fund for them to access loans to start businesses.
Opportunities have been opened up in the mining sector where many people now hold mining claims, while others are already mining.
The fund is run by the Ministry of Indigenisation and administered through Central Africa Building Society (CABS) and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB).
It is not the intention of this article to go into the nitty-gritties of the policies and programmes but just to show how and why President Mugabe’s popularity is unrivalled and that the man needs no surveys to gauge his popularity.
It is what he has done for the people that makes him popular and loved, the more reason why he is re-elected all the time.
That President Mugabe is popular can only be a discovery to those who live in Mars.
Today, the same man has come up with the Own Your House Scheme as he seeks to further empower Zimbabweans and make the majority house owners.
There is also the mechanisation scheme that is benefiting smallholder farmers access tractors and have irrigation installed on their farms.
The farmers have formed groups to access the equipment, which Government sourced from Brazil.
If such schemes do not make President Mugabe a man with the interest of the people at heart, then I stand to be educated on what then would make him popular and loved.
Granted, the economy is not performing as we all would want it to be, but let us give praise where it is due.
Having said that, the MPOI survey only saves to expose the people to what they already know and that President Mugabe needs no popularity survey because he is popular and loved by the people.
That kind of survey results do not mean anything to anyone but it is just an attempt by regime change proponents to make Zanu-PF become complacent as we go for 2018 elections in the comfort that President Mugabe is popular and so dispel the need to go on a campaign trail.
Luckily, parties see through such surveys, which have been many in coming and instead of focusing on them, it continues to work hard to transform the lives of the people.
It is what you do with power that makes you exceptional.
President Mugabe has used the power bestowed on him by the electorate to empower them and to improve their standards of living.
Yes, certain things may not be what we would want them to be, but the President has not sat back on his laurels, instead he has continuously been seized with how to improve the lives of the people.