In a democracy, elected local and parliamentary representatives are critical channels through which citizens’ views and preferences can impact local and national policies. They are also important conduits for disseminating information about government actions to the grass roots.
As Zimbabwe gears up for its 2018 harmonized elections, this dispatch examines how citizens perceive their members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors in terms of responsiveness and job performance. Do Zimbabweans feel free to criticize the people they elect to serve them, and how much faith do they have in them?
According to results of the 2017 Afrobarometer survey in Zimbabwe, few citizens think their MPs and local councillors are willing to listen to their constituents, and a majority don’t feel free to criticize them. Only about half approve of their job performance and express trust in them. Zimbabweans who live in urban areas, have post-secondary education, and/or support the opposition political party are particularly critical of their MPs and local councillors.