The Rural Electorate in Zimbabwe’s Elections 1980-2018: Consciousness and Voting Preferences

This article analyses rural electorate consciousness and urban voting
preferences during Zimbabwe’s elections from 1980 to 2018. The article gives
agency to the rural dwellers in elections, contrary to the general perception
of a captured rural voter and liberal urban voter. To analyse rural voters’
electoral consciousness, the paper uses primary sources (electoral statistical
records), oral interviews (notwithstanding the prevailing COVID-19
lockdown environment) and secondary literature to derive research data. The
data helps to determine the differences between urban and rural ideologies,
culture and ethics which manifest in the political party preferences of the
social groups in the two geographical spaces. The paper concludes that rural
dwellers tended to support the ruling party at elections, though they were
more vulnerable to political patronage and seemingly forced participation
in electoral processes than the urban voters. Nonetheless, complex cultural,
economic, social and historic factors compelled them to participate in elections
more than their urban counterparts. Thus, rural voters can be viewed as
conscious participants in electoral processes with varied, albeit mobilised
participation and political ideologies.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
journal of african elections vol20 number 2 transparent democratic governance in africa