IRI Zimbabwe Poll in Bulawayo and Mashonaland East Shows Concerns over Corruption and the Economy, Approval of Basic Services

Bulawayo Water Pump

Harare, Zimbabwe – A new poll conducted by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research in the provinces of Bulawayo and Mashonaland East shows deep concerns over corruption and the direction of the economy, but overall approval for the delivery of basic services.

When asked about corruption in government, 91% of adults in Bulawayo say it is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem at the local level, and 93% agree at the national level. In Mashonaland East, 80% say corruption is “very serious” or “somewhat serious” at the local level, while 74% agree at the national level.  

“Our poll shows that strong majorities of adults in these provinces feel that corruption is rampant throughout the government on all levels,” said Greg Kearns, Regional Director for Africa at IRI. “This has clearly helped erode confidence and trust in governing institutions.” 

In both provinces, many political institutions on the national and local level failed to win majority approval ratings. In Bulawayo, 36% of adults approve of the Provincial Administrators and 38% approve of the National Assembly. In Mashonaland East, 39% approve of the Provincial Administrators and 45% approve of the National Assembly.  

Conversely, in Bulawayo, religious leaders and civil society leaders won the approval of 82% and 79%, respectively. In Mashonaland East, 83% approved of religious leaders and 69% approved of civil society leaders. 

When asked about the economy in Zimbabwe, most people feel that it is moving in the wrong direction. In Bulawayo, 83% said the economy is “very bad” or “somewhat bad.” In Mashonaland East, 65% agreed.  

“Right now, most people don’t feel like the economy is providing them with opportunities to grow and succeed,” said Kearns. “If this is going to change, leaders on the local and national levels will need to make economic growth an immediate priority.”  

Despite the dim views on the national economy, most people are pleased with the performance of office holders in terms of delivery of basic services. In both provinces, majorities consider such performance by the local and national government on issues related to water, education, sanitation, and healthcare as “very” or “somewhat good.”  


This survey was conducted by Research Bureau International (RBI) on behalf of the International Republican Institute’s Center for Insights in Survey Research.​ Data was collected in two provinces, Bulawayo, and Mashonaland East, between October 13-25, 2021. ​The sample consisted of n=603 adults in Bulawayo and n=601 adults in Mashonaland East aged 18 or older. ​​The response rate was 83% for Bulawayo and 85% for Mashonaland East. ​The margin of error is plus or minus 4 points at the 95% confidence interval for both Bulawayo and Mashonaland East.​  

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