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Cablegate: Public Opinion Poll Revisited

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 002336

SIPDIS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PGOV PHUM ZI
SUBJECT: PUBLIC OPINION POLL REVISITED

REF: HARARE 02265

1. This cable is to provide clarification on the comparison
of the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) poll and the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) results as described
in REFTEL. ZESN election results are based on official
Zimbabwe Registrar General election results. ZESN is not an
independent polling or survey organization. It is a
coalition of thirty-eight non-governmental organizations
formed to coordinate activities pertaining to elections. For
the 2002 presidential election results, ZESN collected,
compared, and synthesized media and government reports on
election results and disseminated their findings to the
public. No organization could do an independent assessment
of the voting or voter rolls because the government never
provided an NGO or opposition parties with voters rolls.
ZESN might have been better able to provide an independent
assessment had more people been accredited as domestic
observers. Of the 12,500 names submitted, only 420 people
were accredited.

2. In light of the source of ZESN electoral data, the fact
that ZESN reported 43.1 percent of people voted for MDC and
56.9 percent voted for ZANU-PF is not surprising, does not
reflect an independent assessment, and does not necessarily
contradict MPOI survey results (30.5 percent MDC and 27.4
percent ZANU-PF).

3. Despite these shortcomings, the ZESN Zimbabwe Presidential
Elections March 2002 report, released in April, does
highlight some irregularities in the compilation of the voter
rolls. The report cites a study conducted by Probe Market
Research (PMR), an affiliate of Gallup International Poll
Group, which suggested an over inflation of the number of
possible people on the voters roll. According to PMR, a 100
percent voter registration would be 3.6 million names and not
the 5.6 million claimed by the government. PMR claims that
there could only have been 4.8 million potential voters in
the country but given HIV/AIDS and economic migration from
Zimbabwe, the total figure was likely lower. (Note: PMR
referred to an anonymous 1997 study as the basis of its
calculations. Using a methodology similar to that described
by PMR and using U.S. Census Bureau population estimates,
there would be more than 5.8 potential voters in the country
versus the 4.8 PMR claims. A 100 percent voter registration,
even against the backdrop of AIDS and economic migration,
would also be more than PMR,s estimates but not as high as
the GOZs announced registrants numbers. End Note.)

4. A comparison of registered voters between 1995 and 2002
shows some interesting movements. The number of registered
voters was smaller in Bulawayo in 2002 than 2000 while in the
pro-ZANU-PF provinces registered voter populations increased
by more than 40,000. From 1995 to 2002, Mashonaland Central
and Midlands had increases in voter numbers of more than
100,000 people compared to 50,000 in Matebeleland, an MDC
stronghold. Harare also had a sizeable increase in the
number of registered voters between 2000 and 2002.

5. Comment: The Government of Zimbabwe,s refusal to provide
the voters roll to NGOs or the opposition parties makes any
sort of independent post-election analysis difficult. While
ZESN attempts to provide an independent assessment of the
electoral process, it falls short because it was not provided
with complete data. The ZESN report does have its merits in
that it provides data on previous elections so that some
comparisons are possible. End comment.
SULLIVAN

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