HARARE – An opinion poll conducted by influential Facebook character, Baba Jukwa, suggests that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai maintains a landslide lead over his Zanu PF opponent President Robert Mugabe in the run-up to the make-or-break presidential vote.
The online opinion poll shows Tsvangirai leading the pack with 85 percent of votes, while 10 percent of the Zimbabweans on the social networking site are backing Mugabe.
Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC is on three percent of the vote, while Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa and Kisinoti Mukwazhe are both tied on one percent.
The five presidential candidates successfully lodged their papers at the Nomination Court last Friday.
With 4 189 respondents having participated in the online poll at the time of going to press last night, the survey asked respondents “Who is going to win the next coming Zimbabwean election?”
The faceless Facebook character, who for four months has de-campaigned Zanu PF in a devastating manner never witnessed since independence in 1980, believes that whoever wins his opinion poll is likely to grab the presidency.
“As we celebrate our 200 000 plus membership mark, today is the day we carry out our survey on who you will vote, come 31 July,” wrote Baba Jukwa on his Facebook page on Tuesday.
“What will come out of this survey is what will be the outcome of the elections.”
By yesterday, Baba Jukwa’s popularity ratings were skyrocketing, garnering 208 000 likes on his Facebook page up from 205 000 the previous day, while hundreds of thousands more reportedly just browse the page without liking it for fear of reprisals.
The sample size of early voters is relatively small, but the MDC leader’s margin is still well above the poll’s credibility interval — a measurement of polls’ accuracy.
With the election just weeks away, Tsvangirai’s surge followed his strong performance in policy articulation against Mugabe who launches his manifesto tomorrow and erased a jump in support that Mugabe had enjoyed following a dent that the MDC leader suffered following scandals thrown up by his dalliances with women.
Recent polls had put Tsvangirai and Mugabe in a statistical dead heat, but Baba Jukwa’s opinion poll gives Tsvangirai an unassailable 85 percent lead, with Mugabe trailing far behind with a miserly 10 percent.
Baba Jukwa’s survey was, however dismissed by Zanu PF, Ncube’s MDC and Zapu, while Tsvangirai’s MDC says the poll reflects what is set to happen in the impending elections barring vote rigging.
MDC’s spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora, said the opinion poll was spot-on.
“We are on record saying that we will be targeting 90 percent of the vote and we will get a landslide,” Mwonzora said
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, secretary-general of Ncube’s MDC, scoffed at the opinion poll before hanging up the line.
Kurauone Chihwayi, the party deputy spokesperson, said although Baba Jukwa has made some pin-point predictions in the past, his survey is off the mark, claiming the smaller MDC formation will obtain no less than 55 percent of the popular vote.
“Baba Jukwa might have made accurate predictions in the past but we disagree with his opinion poll,” Chihwayi said.
“We do not know how accurate it is and we will not spend time concentrating on surveys done by pro-Tsvangirai groups.”
But Baba Jukwa claims to be a Zanu PF insider piqued by grotesque corruption and brutality in the ex-majority party.
With the prospects of a grand coalition between Tsvangirai and Ncube dimming each day, Chihwayi said the mainstream MDC does not have the numbers to back up Baba Jukwa’s opinion poll.
Zanu PF, on the other hand, says it has no time for Baba Jukwa.
Dabengwa said Baba Jukwa was entitled to his opinion.
“Even if our support is bigger than that, we cannot stop Baba Jukwa from having his surveys,” he said. “Very soon we will get to know the actual results when elections are held.”
Mukwazhe, who was endorsed by only one percent, said Baba Jukwa is trying to influence people into voting for Tsvangirai.
“We are going to surprise Tsvangirai and Mugabe because of our strategies and policies,” he said.
“We will ensure that the next elections’ outcome will be favourable to us. People know what they want because they are tired of Zanu PF and MDC.”