Starting from five major political parties at independence, the history of multiparty politics in Zimbabwe is marked by a fragmented opposition that reached a peak in a power-sharing Government of National Unity (GNU) but has never broken the ruling party’s 35-year hold on power. Does this history reflect what Zimbabweans want in their politics?
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In public debate about the resurgence of xenophobic violence in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces in March-April 2015, which killed at least seven people and displaced more than 5,000 (Smith, 2015), a considerable amount of ink has been spilled on trying to map out why the attacks took place. Broadly speaking, one can group the various explanations into three categories.
The international community is watching with intense interest as Nigeria’s new government settles in and begins to pursue its development priorities, which are centred on fighting corruption; creating employment, especially for young people; and improving security. How do Nigerians, in turn, perceive the international community and its role in their country’s development?
This dispatch is only available in French.
A majority of African youth are interested in public affairs and discuss politics with those around them, but relatively low levels of civic engagement and political participation suggest a disconnect between the continent’s “youth bulge” and democratic processes.
Most Zimbabweans express discontent with the overall direction of their country, deteriorating economic conditions, rising corruption, and the performance of their elected leaders – except for President Robert Mugabe.
According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, popular assessments of the country’s direction and of how members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors are doing their jobs are considerably more negative than in 2012, but a majority of Zimbabweans continue to approve of the president’s performance.
Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July) honours the ideals that underpinned Madiba’s actions – freedom, universal enfranchisement, and participatory democracy. As Mandela once said, “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” More than a quarter-century after grass-roots pro-democracy movements began replacing authoritarian regimes in many African countries, and despite marked progress toward democratic governance, many new democracies continue to suffer from a number of democratic deficits.
This dispatch is only available in French.
An overwhelming majority of Zambians say they are opposed to physical violence as a way to discipline women and children, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey reveals. Disapproval of wife battering is so widespread in Zambia that there is little or no difference in views across genders, urban/rural locations, or education levels.
Opposition to corporal punishment of children, both at home and at school, is also the majority view, though less widespread than disapproval of physical discipline of wives.
Kenya has seen a dramatic rise in violent extremism: Between 1970 and 2007, the country experienced 190 terrorist attacks, an average of five per year; since 2008, the average has escalated to 47 attacks a year. The overwhelming majority of these incidents have been attributed to Al-Shabaab. Originating in Somalia in 2005, the group has since regionalized its operations and established an active presence in Kenya, where it has successfully recruited and radicalized Kenyan nationals and carried out numerous attacks on a variety of local targets (Botha, 2014).
In 2015, the Republic of South Africa ratified its National Youth Policy 2015-2020 (NYP). One of the policy’s four primary objectives is “to strengthen the capacity of young people to enable them to take charge of their own well-being through building their assets and ultimately realising their potential to the fullest” (Presidency, 2014, p. 12). This is a crucial objective, given that about half of the country’s unemployed workers are youth ages 15-24 years (Statistics South Africa, 2015).
South Africa celebrates Youth Day every June 16 to commemorate the students who lost their lives during the Soweto Uprising in 1976. An estimated 3,000-10,000 students marched to protest the apartheid government’s directive to make Afrikaans a compulsory medium of instruction in public education, alongside English. The violent police response to this peaceful protest led to a widespread revolt against the government and exposed the brutality of the apartheid state to the international community.
Les Togolais sont célèbres pour leur hospitalité. Ce constat est-il encore vrai de nos jours? Qu’en est-il de la tolérance envers les personnes de religion différente, d’un autre groupe ethnique, d’une autre nationalité, d’orientation sexuelle différente, et de ceux qui vivent avec le VIH/SIDA?
Despite growing public support for gender parity, and government initiatives to promote it in some African countries, inequalities in educational attainment remain a significant obstacle to women’s empowerment. The United Nations reports notable successes in increasing primary-school enrolment rates, from 52% in 1990 to 78% in 2012 in sub-Saharan Africa and from 80% to 99% in North Africa, but girls continue to be educated at lower rates than boys – particularly at secondary and tertiary levels (United Nations, 2014).
La bonne nouvelle: La majorité des Béninois sont satisfaits de la performance des députés des législatures précédentes à l’Assemblée Nationale.
La mauvaise nouvelle: En comparaison avec 2011, les évaluations des citoyens concernant la performance et la fiabilité des députes des précédentes législatures ont chutés. La confiance des Béninois à l’endroit de leurs députés a diminué, et la proportion de ceux qui trouvent que « tous » ou « la plupart » des députés sont impliqués dans les affaires de corruption a connu une hausse drastique.
La plupart des Béninois désirent la démocratie et rejettent toute forme de gouvernance non-démocratique, mais la proportion de la population qui se prononce satisfait de la démocratie a baissé de moitié par rapport à 2008, selon la dernière enquête d’Afrobaromètre.
At the end of the 20th century, many African countries adopted presidential term limits aspart of a broader set of constitutional rules that accompanied the transition from personal and authoritarian rule to pluralistic modes of governance. While term limits were widely embraced by the larger African public, these rules have in recent years come under increasing attack from incumbent presidents seeking to extend their tenures.
Transparency International consistently ranks Zimbabwe among the most corrupt countries in the world (156th out of 175 countries in its 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index). In the latest Afrobarometer survey, a majority of adult Zimbabweans say that the level of corruption in the country has increased over the past year. A majority believe that most or all members of the police force are involved in corrupt activities, and a substantial proportion of respondents say they paid bribes to procure identity documents or avoid problems with the police.
Widespread violence and crime made for a tense build-up to Nigeria’s recent elections, with large swaths of the country effectively under the control of terrorists and frequent headlines reporting armed robberies and kidnappings.
Change has been rapid and remarkable: Within the span of a few months, virtually all territories (and hundreds of captives) have been liberated from extremist groups, and in March and April 2015, elections conducted with minimal disruption turned the incumbent party out of office after 16 years.
Despite their multiplicity of ethnic/cultural (European, African, Indian, Chinese) and religious (Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist) backgrounds, Mauritians have experienced few incidents of ethnic or religious violence. The last major incident dates back to 1999, when the popular Creole musician Kaya was found dead whilst in police custody, triggering riots against the mostly Hindu police and fights between Creoles and Hindus. Since then, the country has lived in relative harmony through three successive national elections.
Journalists have little doubt that a free and effective news media is a cornerstone of democracy and development. But do their customers – everyday citizens and consumers of news – agree with them, and thus help provide the backing that journalists need to gain or maintain their independence?
Mauritians trust their political institutions but are increasingly concerned about corruption, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.
More than two-thirds (69%) of Mauritians say corruption increased “somewhat” or “a lot” over the year preceding the survey. This finding corroborates results of a survey commissioned in 2014 by the country’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), in which 60% of
Mauritians said that high-level and small-scale corruption had increased over the past three years and that they expected it to worsen.
In successive Afrobarometer survey rounds, more than seven of 10 Tanzanians have said they feel free to say what they think, placing Tanzania near the top among African countries in perceived freedom of speech. The Tanzanian news media environment, however, is only partly free, according to Freedom House assessments, and recent years have witnessed extensive government intervention in news media activity.
Metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs), along with complementary sub-structures, are the major features of Ghana’s decentralized local government system initiated in the early 1990s. The core functions of MMDAs, as set out in the 1993 Local Government Act (Act 462), include ensuring the overall development of the district by a) preparing district development plans and budgets, b) initiating programs for the development of basic infrastructure, and c) providing municipal works and services in their jurisdictions.
Namibians express increasing levels of support for women in political leadership, but Namibian women continue to trail men slightly in their interest in public affairs and participation in civic action, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
Transparency and accountability are hallmarks of democracy and good governance. They are the centrepiece of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that was launched in 2011 by eight countries and has since grown to 65 countries. The Open Government Partnership is an international platform for domestic reformers committed to ensuring that their governments are open, accountable, and responsive to the needs of their citizens.
Nigeria’s 2015 general elections, delayed by six weeks because of scaled-up military operations against terrorism, are likely to be the most competitive in the country’s history (see Afrobarometer Dispatch No. 11) . The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has used the extra time to distribute more voter cards and complete other preparations. In the tense build-up to the elections, this new analysis of Afrobarometer survey data collected in December 2014 takes the democratic pulse of Nigerians as they get ready to head to the polls.
In observance of World Water Day (March 22), under the theme of “Water and Sustainable Development,” Afrobarometer data amplifies the voices of ordinary Africans who call on their governments to address inadequate water supply and sanitation as a top priority.
Basotho perceive an increased level of corruption in the past year, with the highest levels of perceived corruption among the police and business executives, according to Afrobarometer’s most recent survey. Survey results show that citizens are divided in their assessment of the government’s handling of the fight against corruption.