Mwanawasa, MMD lead opinion poll

And the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) has overcome differences that threatened its existence and picked Lusaka businessman and billionaire, Hakahinde Hichilema to lead the alliance into the election on September 28.

The public opinion, undertaken in six provinces in July by Pangolin Consulting and based on the 2006 eligible voters, has rated Mwanawasa at 45 per cent, making him the most popular and potential winner of the presidential elections.

Micheal Sata, leader of opposition Patriotic Front has been rated second with 15 percent while newly elected United Democratic Alliance and Lusaka billionaire, Hakahinde Hichilema is trailing third with six per cent.

Principal Researcher, Neo Simutanyi explained in his report that 23 per cent of the eligible voters are undecided as to which party and leader to elect into office for the next five years if the elections were to take place now.

Four per cent did not think that there was any credible leader worth ushering into the country’s top seat.

According to the report, western, northern provinces and copperbelt had the highest consideration for Mwanawasa’s candidature with 78 percent, 68 percent and 43 percent rating respectively.

Mwanawasa had least support in southern province with 28 percent. Maverick Sata is highly rated in Lusaka with 23 percent, copperbelt 20 percent and Northern provinces at 17 percent.

Hichilema, despite being a new entrant in politics has been highly rated in Southern province at 22 percent.

United National Independence Party (UNIP) leader, Tilyenji Kaunda, a member of the UDA has garnered 12 percent in eastern Zambia.

The ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) has been rated the most popular party in Zambia and has potential to win the elections if held now, 46 percent of the electorate would vote for it with PF running second at 12 percent.

UPND took third position during the opinion poll with eight percent, UNIP at four and the Forum for Democracy and Development last at two percent.

Simutanyi said the MMD was the only party with significant backing from across Zambia with support from across Zambia with the strongest support from western province at 71 percent, northern at 64 percent and the Copperbelt at 44 percent.

On the performance of the government, the survey showed that Zambians highly approved the performance of the MMD in the last five years with almost with almost 60 percent of the Zambian electorate expressing satisfaction with the performance.

Western province rated government at 84, northern at 72 percent and southern at 58 percent.

More than 57 percent of the Zambian electorate were satisfied with the performance of the opposition parties while others had reservations because of the disunity.

However, President Mwanawasa’s health came up during the opinion poll undertaken.

Two thirds of the respondents considered President Mwanawasa’s health an issue in the September 28 elections compared to 27 percent who thought to the contrary.

The majority of voters in eastern province at 80 percent, western province at 72 and Northern provinces were concerned with the health of presidential candidates with more than half of the electorate in other provinces expressing similar concerns.

August 2006
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