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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
The East African Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five countries in the Great Lakes region: Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Malawians value Parliament’s legislative and oversight role but are highly critical of the performance of parliamentarians, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.
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.