Forty (40) percent of Zimbabweans are willing to accept “political gifts” ahead of the upcoming elections, even if they say they will still vote for their preferred candidate, a recent survey has shown.

According to a pre-election survey conducted by the Public Policy and Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PRIZ), an independent think tank based in Bulawayo, only 11% of the respondents said they will take the “gifts” and vote for the candidate offering the bribe.

This means 51% of the respondents are open to receiving bribes from politicians.

According to PRIZ, for the pre-election poll, respondents or potential electorate aged 18 and above who are eligible to vote in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe were sought.

Face-to-face interviews were conducted, with respondents replying in their preferred language, and at least 200 respondents from each province were chosen, giving PRIZ a sample size of 2689 respondents. Read the survey results:

"Respondents were asked about how they would react to being bribed by the contesting candidates to influence their choice.

44 percent say they would not take the bribe and they will vote for their choice, 40 percent say they would take the bribe but continue and vote for their preferred candidate while 11 percent would take a bribe and vote for the bribing candidate."

This represents an alarming 51 percent of the respondents that would accept and receive “political gifts”." 

The Electoral Act says bribery involves someone who:

"gives, lends or procures or agrees to give, lend or procure or offers or promises to procure or to endeavour to procure, any money to or for any person on behalf of a voter, or to or for any other person in order to induce a voter to vote or refrain from voting, or who corruptly does any such act as aforesaid on account of such voter having voted or refrained from voting at any election."

A political commentator, Iphithule Maphosa, told CITE that Zimbabwe has experienced some of the highest prevalence of bribery and commercialisation of elections adding that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has turned a blind eye to the vice due to its impartiality where ZANU PF is involved. Said Maphosa:

"It is therefore not surprising that once again vote buying is still a concern in the August 23 elections."

"The law notwithstanding, divorcing money and food from politics in Zimbabwe remains a hard nut to crack because some people are hungry and need that money or food."

"Look at how people scramble for the ZANU PF bread or Chicken Inn (fried chips and chicken) at ZANU PF rallies. It signifies that some people are desperate but that cannot be condoned."

"Then for the opposition, which doesn’t offer food at its rallies, some people have been heard saying they are hungry and didn’t get food. It’s puzzling."