Political Trust in Zimbabwe over time.

Zimbabwe today is a country more polarised than at any time since Independence (Bratton & Masunungure. 2018), and, despite the brief euphoria over the removal of the Mugabe regime, there seems little prospect that the frequent calls for unity are finding broad acceptance. There are continued disputes over the elections in 2018, and, despite court judgements, conflict over claims of legality and legitimacy by the two major political parties. We also have a sustained decline in the economy, with seemingly little that the government can do about this. However, in the face of the hardships faced by the majority of Zimbabweans, many of whom (and certainly the youth) have known little else for nearly two decades, these calls sound increasingly hollow. We have witnessed scenes of violence and destruction not seen since 1998 and the Food Riots. It seems that the endlessly decried peacefulness of the Zimbabwean citizenry is beginning to break down in the face of the continuing and increasing hardships faced by the ordinary citizen. Unemployment is very high in Zimbabwe, and, despite the conclusions of ZimStat that only 7% are unemployed (ZimStat. 2017), the views of ordinary citizens dispute this: according to the Afrobarometer, most see themselves as unemployed, as not being in full-time employment. According to the Census, unemployment has been dropping since 2002, from 12% in 2002 to 7% in 2017, but the Afrobarometer shows an opposite picture. The point here is that the way in which citizens perceive their own economic situation is a probable source of conflict, and this has already occurred in 2019 with persistent industrial action by a variety of government workers.

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Political trust, social trust and trustworthiness in Zimbabwe?

Political trust is an important factor in ensuring compliance with governance and governments, and there is a growing an extensive literature on this useful concept (Newton. 2001; Levi & Stoker. 2000). It is frequently examined in surveys on the political views of citizens, and questions about political trust have been included in every Afrobarometer survey carried out in African countries, Zimbabwe included, since 1999.
A previous study on political trust in Zimbabwe examined political trust over time, from 1999 to 2017 (RAU. 2019). This study demonstrated that frequencies of strong political trust in government officials and agencies were low, little more than 30% ever expressed strong political trust, and, furthermore, that trust was minimised by political fear, and for every year since, and including 1999. It also demonstrated that the frequencies of strong political trust were a feature of rural residence (and possibly political affiliation).

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“Counting the Gains” is a condensed profile of the work of Zimbabwean women members of parliament, a collection celebrating female leaders traditionally marginalised in politics and by the media. This photo book was conceived, not just to showcase the contribution of women political representatives at a national level but also, to demonstrate that the fight for gender equality is truly on course. It records for posterity a wide range of issues tackled by legislators under the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) during the five-year (2013-2018) tenure of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe. “Counting the Gains” highlights the successes, the challenges and the global aspirations of Zimbabwean women – from local grassroots development projects to the formulation of international laws to promote social justice and a fair world. Beyond seeing the book as “medium” to broadcast voices

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Violations against teachers report 2019

Zimbabwe has an enviable record in Africa for the quality of its educated population. The enormous investment in education from the beginning of Independence in 1980, has drawn favourable comment in Africa and around the world. It is thus deeply disturbing that schools have become sites of repression and teachers targets for repression. Children have been forced to attend political rallies, schools have become places where partisan political meetings political meetings take place, and teachers have become the targets of intimidation and violence.
This is no new phenomenon. Teachers were targets for political violence during the Liberation War, and have been targets in most elections since 2000, with 2008 perhaps the worst to date. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Human Rights Forum) documented 283 cases of human rights violations against teachers in the period from January 2001 to June 2002. In 2008, 50% of teachers in a national sample of 1034 teachers reported an incident of organised violence, with half of these reporting that this happened at school in front of children

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Are Zimbabweans Polarised

Afrobarometer surveys on Zimbabwe frequently run into criticism about both the methodology and the findings. This was the case with the public release of the Round 7 (2017) survey results. A particular bone of contention was what to make of apparently contradictory findings. For example, participants were confused by the findings that a majority of Zimbabweans both trust and fear the President, Robert Mugabe. This confusion was driven apparently by a failure to appreciate the limitations of quantitative research. The methodological confusion was answered by the Afrobarometer itself (Howard & Logan. 2017), but another issue emerged from the criticism. This was more interesting, and we hypothesized that this might derive from the actual knowledge base of the critics. It raised the question about whether the critics were as informed about the views and opinions of the Zimbabwean polity as they claimed. It led us to speculate that the critics were an “elite”, and, as such, more detached from the reality of public opinion than they knew. There was some basis for this hypothesis derived from an earlier study that suggested the middle class was composed of “disconnected democrats” (RAU. 2015).

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Protecting schools and children during election 21 June 2018

In 2009, the Research and Advocacy Unit in collaboration with the progressive Teachers‘ Union of Zimbabwe carried out a study to document the experiences of violence that teachers experienced in Zimbabwe especially around 2000 and beyond. The study was aimed at highlighting the extent and impact of violations on the education sector and how schools had become to resemble ―war zones‖ especially around elections to the detriment of the entire education sector. The study was also aimed highlighting the plight of the Educators vis-a-viz political activities and push for a policy declaring schools as zones of safety.Schools, schooling and teachers are a fundamental part of a nation‘s fabric, having critically important roles in developing the workforce and social capital of the future. Multiple studies demonstrate the crucial role that education plays in development. All societies desiring to develop economically, and have a strong, stable citizenry, place high priority on education. Zimbabwe is no different and has received endless praise for the investment by government in education. However, like health, education needs the constant support of the government and the citizenry in order to continue to provide the skilled workers and committed citizens of the future. For this reason, it is always critical to protect education from attack

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RAU 2015 Zim since the 2013 elections

This paper is a review of developments since the Harmonised elections in 2013, and builds on a previous analysis issued at the end of 20131.The 2013 elections marked the end of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the Inclusive Government, and a period of moderate economic stability, and a decided lessening in political violence, but a near complete failure to put in place all the reforms agreed by the political parties under the GPA. Whilst in retrospect this was not unexpected, given that the GPA was more in the nature of a peace accord rather than a genuine transitional instrument, for some the outcome was not a surprise. However, whilst some commentators were inclined to take a benevolent view of the prospects under the GPA2, others were more cynical in suggesting that reform was improbable, and that there was need for a strong concentration by civil society (and the opposition parties) for insisting on the reformation of state institutions ahead of what would be highly contested elections, and quite possibly violent elections

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Sexual Violence Against Women, Justice and the Right to Protection.

Considerable documentation is available on the Zimbabwean crisis, written by both local and international organizations, but there is very little written about the women‘s experiences, or the crisis from women‘s perspective. Women have different experiences on the crisis from men and therefore they will have different views on how it should be resolved. In 2009, the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) began a campaign to end politically motivated violence against women, which was kick started by a video Hear Us: Women Affected by Political Violence in Zimbabwe Speak Out. This was launched in Harare but has had a global outreach. Subsequently a petition, signed by over 1500 people, was submitted to the International Relations Department of the South African government to investigate violence against women in keeping with the articles of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development; South Africa was the then Chair of The Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the SADC Facilitator on the Zimbabwean crisis

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