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AD29: Security and armed extremism in Nigeria: Setting a new agenda

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.

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AD28: Mauritians welcome ethnic/religious diversity but are less tolerant of homosexuals and people living with HIV/AIDS

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.

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AD26: Mauritians trust their institutions but say corruption is growing

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.

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AD24: Can Tanzania’s news media maintain popular support for watchdog role?

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.

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AD23: Ghana’s decentralization: Locally centralized decision making ill serves its public

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.

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AD19: Amid perceived escalating corruption, Batswana demand officials account and declare assets

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.

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AD18: Nigeria’s pre-election pulse: Mixed views on democracy and accountability

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.

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AD15: Basotho see increased corruption despite government efforts

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.

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AD14: In Malawi, women lag in political participation; support for women’s leadership declines

Despite having been led by southern Africa’s first female president, Malawi has made little progress toward equal political participation by women, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey suggests. Women in Malawi remain less likely than men to engage in political activities, and public support for women’s leadership has declined.

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AD13: Malawians admire South Africa as development model, see strong influence of U.S. and China

South Africa ranks highest among models for Malawi’s future development, according to Malawians’ perceptions of international relations expressed in a recent Afrobarometer survey. The United States is the second-most-popular model and is regarded as the most influential country in Malawi.

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AD12: Basotho less supportive of women’s political leadership, opposed to traditional chieftain role

Basotho women still find it hard to attain leadership positions due to discriminatory cultural practices and laws, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey shows. Survey results also suggest that women are less active than men in community and political organising.

Support for women’s political leadership declined from 2012 to 2014, and even though two-thirds of women say that women should have the same chance as men of being elected to political office, a majority of women and men still support the law that allows only sons to succeed to chieftaincy in Lesotho.

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AD8: Botswana affirm their personal freedoms but disapprove of same-sex relationships

Botswana is an electoral democracy and has been led by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) since independence in 1966. The country is recognised for upholding democratic
principles and has continuously received high ratings by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and Freedom House. Botswana’s constitution embraces the protection of
fundamental rights and freedoms of expression, assembly, and association. However, some sexual acts, including certain same-sex acts, are illegal.

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AD7: Namibians see increased corruption; business executives now top list of ‘most corrupt’

Corruption has yet to gain prominence as a public policy issue in Namibia. Most respondents to the 2014 Afrobarometer survey in Namibia do not rank corruption among the top priorities that the government needs to address.

Other surveys rank Namibia relatively high in the fight against corruption. Namibia improved in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, from 57th in 2013 to 55th out of 175 countries. Tied with Lesotho, Namibia ranks ahead of South Africa (67th) and trails Botswana (31st) and Mauritius (47th).

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AD11: Nigeria heads for closest election on record

Nigerians will go to the polls on 14 February to elect their president and national legislators to four-year terms, followed two weeks later by elections for many governors and state assemblies. The presidential election will be Nigeria’s fifth since the return to democracy in 1999. In an Afrobarometer survey conducted two months before the elections, we find a highly competitive political field, with much uncertainty about the prospects for credible and peaceful polls and about the outcome of the elections.

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AD6: Perceived corruption escalates, trust in institutions drops: A call for ordinary Ghanaians to get involved in the fight

Most Ghanaians perceive some or all of their government, law enforcement, and judiciary officials, as well as business executives and traditional and religious leaders, as corrupt, according to new Afrobarometer survey data. Over-time analysis reveals rising trends in the level of perceived corruption among public officials and informal leaders. Indeed, a majority of citizens believe corruption has increased over the past year.

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AD5: World AIDS Day: Most African governments win high marks for efforts to fight HIV/AIDS

HIVand AIDS remains the leading cause of death in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa, the hardest-hit region, is home to 71% of the world’s 35 million people living with HIV, including 91% of the world’s HIV-infected children. Despite these grim statistics, better access to antiretroviral treatment and in some areas, stable or declining HIV incidence and prevalence rates offer cause for hope.

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AD4: Political accountability in East African countries: Who should make MPs and councillors do their jobs?

One of the critical challenges facing African countries today is how to make governments work for the people – using resources at their disposal efficiently, delivering public goods and services, and guaranteeing an equitable distribution of opportunities and national income among citizens. In many places, systems of checks and balances have not lived up to expectations in making state institutions deliver such public goods. As a result, citizen participation in government oversight is now recognized as almost indispensable.

 

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AD3: Developing Africa’s infrastructure: The rough road to better services

Inadequate access to basic infrastructure and development services remains a key impediment to improving health, welfare, and security for many Africans. While large majorities have ready access to schools and cell-phone services, many Africans still do not enjoy adequate access to health clinics and police posts, as well as to electricity and water supply services, especially in rural areas.

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AD1: Malawi’s 2014 Elections: Amid concerns about fairness, outcome is too close to call

Malawians will go to the polls on 20 May 2014 to select their next leaders. In an Afrobarometer poll conducted 6 to 8 weeks before the election, Malawians express strong
confidence in their ability to vote as they choose, but also concerns about the freeness and fairness of the overall process, especially the vote count. Given uncertainty about registration and turnout levels among Malawian youth, as well as the significant number of respondents who did not reveal a vote choice, the election remains too close to call.

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