Ideally, a country’s constitution is that society’s contract with its citizens and should be an expression of the aspirations and values of the people. Zimbabwe’s constitution has a chequered history. It was crafted in London in 1979 as an elite ceasefire pact among warring parties and has been amended no less than 19 times in 30 years. Few have regarded this document as a national supreme law and many have agitated for its replacement.
At the end of 2010, Zimbabwean citizens remained broadly supportive of power sharing as an antidote to political crisis. But they were increasingly critical of the halting performance of their country’s coalition government. Most people also perceived declining civil liberties and feared resurgent political violence. Yet clear majorities called for constitutional reforms to limit the powers of the presidency and seemingly even for free elections in 2011 to return the country to legitimate rule.
Kenya held its fourth multi-party elections in 2007. It turned out to be Kenya’s most closely contested election, but also the most poorly managed, since the return to multipartyism in 1992. Although the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) declared the incumbent and Party of National Unity (PNU) candidate Mwai Kibaki the winner, this was immediately disputed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which averred that their presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, was the winner.
This Briefing Paper analyses the extent to which ordinary Mozambicans feel the rule of law actually exists in their country. It employs 2005 and 2008 data from the Mozambique Afrobarometer public opinion survey to understand people’s perceptions of the extent to which ordinary people are treated equally by the state, whether the state enforces the law equally against both state officials and ordinary people, and the extent to which the president ignores the constitution.
After protracted political negotiations to resolve Zimbabwe’s chronic political impasse, which were facilitated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a tripartite agreement was signed by incumbent President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Morgan Tsvangirai of the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and Arthur Mutambara of the splinter MDC-M formation.
For many Zimbabweans, life in the last few years has been nasty, brutish and sometimes short, but there is now a flicker of light at the end of a dark and long tunnel. Things started really falling apart in 2008 with the unprecedented cholera outbreak that claimed more than 4 000 lives and infected over 100 000 others. Zimbabwe stood at the edge of a precipice with health centres and schools closed, shops displaying empty shelves, acute shortages of food and other basic essentials, and rampant politically-motivated violence and human rights violations.
Nigeria is a federation of thirty-six States and the Federal Capital Territory. The federation consists of 774 local government areas. Local governments are intended to serve as the lowest tier of governance that will be most responsive to the needs of the people. Local governments in Nigeria are also expected to enhance political participation at the grassroots. Due to these expectations, there is persistent agitation for the creation of local governments by different groups across the country.
Ghana embarked on a comprehensive program of local government decentralization in the late 1980s. The program launched by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) represents the most comprehensive effort at decentralization in the country’s post-colonial era. Proposals launched in 1987 culminated in the introduction of the District Assemblies Law (PNDC Law 207) in 1988. Its provisions for the structure and functions of the District Assemblies (DAs) were subsequently incorporated into the 1992 Republican Constitution.
Four rounds of Afrobarometer surveys have been conducted in Ghana since 1999. Round 2 was conducted in 2002 when the administration of President John Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had barely settled in office; Round 3 was conducted in 2005 when the government had recently renewed its electoral mandate. The current Round 4 survey (March 2008) coincides with the year in which the Kufuor-NPP administration is ending its second term in office and heading for the polls (in December 2008).
Unemployment, housing, crime, poverty and HIV/AIDS are rated by South Africans as their top five priorities for government action.
This is one of the many important results revealed by the recent Afrobarometer survey of a representative sample of 2,400 South Africans, conducted in January and February 2006 by Citizen Surveys.
President Thabo Mbeki has reached new heights of public popularity with current job approval ratings matching the best ratings given to Nelson Mandela. These findings stand in stark contrast to the current crisis within the ANC and its alliance partners as manifested in sharp divisions over the treatment of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, and the selection of the Party’s next candidate for President, as well as unprecedented attacks on Mbeki’s policies and leadership style by the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
This briefing, describes changes in democratic attitudes in Lesotho and is based on a survey of 1,161 Basotho who are 18 years of age or older, administered between 6 July 2005 and 17 August 2005. The survey was conducted in 145 villages, in census enumeration areas selected by a random process proportional to population, with the help of Lesotho’s Bureau of Statistics. Every district was represented in proportion to its population. A precise method was developed for finding random households within each village.
Tanzanians are unhappy with the country’s economic conditions and their own living conditions, and they still experience high levels of lived poverty. Indeed, poverty at the individual level is a good part of the explanation for economic dissatisfaction. These are some of the key findings of the most recent Afrobarometer survey conducted in Tanzania between 21 July and 13 August, 2005.
The controversy over presidential term limits is at the center of public discussion in Nigeria. The most recent national opinion survey by the Afrobarometer finds strong support among the Nigerian public for term limits, free elections, competitive politics, and constitutional government. This survey shows widespread popular disapproval for an indefinite tenure of the chief Executive, and firm support for the present constitutional limit of two terms for elected officials.
In 2008, Madagascans tended to hold a somewhat mixed and increasingly dim view of the state of their national economy. 28% of Madagascans thought their economy was in a poor state and 24% viewed it as healthy – 11 percentage points lower than in 2005. The remaining 48% had no definite opinion, indicating a degree of perplexity concerning the general state of the economy. An even greater cause for concern is Madagascans’ distinctly negative view of their personal living standards.
La démocratie nécessite qu’un certain nombre de libertés soient respectées, telles que la libertéd’expression, la liberté de presse ou encore la liberté d’organisation. Interrogés sur ces libertés, lesMalgaches se montrent dans leur très grande majorité attachés à leur respect.
This brief addresses the state of the Parliament in Tanzania. In particular, we ask how Tanzanians themselves prioritize the various responsibilities of an MP. And we explore how well their MPs are doing at fulfilling these diverse roles.
In 1999 Zamfara became the first state to institute Shari’a law and soon afterwards eleven other northern states followed suit. The literature on Shari’a has been mixed in the assessment of its impact (Last 2000; Miles 2000, 2003; Marshall 2002, 2005; Harnischfeger 2004; Paden 2005, 2008; Loimeier 2007). Characterizations of Shari’a have ranged from it being labeled a form of militant religious extremism to a toothless legal system that is at best ineffectual and frequently discriminatory towards the poor and women.
La perception de la population de l’ampleur de la corruption témoigne d’un bilan assez mitigé. Lesrésultats montrent une corruption endémique qui affecte tous les rouages de l’administration et de lasphère politique. Toutefois, l’évolution de l’état de l’opinion en la matière pourrait permettre d’avancerl’hypothèse d’un recul de la corruption. La proportion de la population qui dénonce l’étendue de ce fléauest en baisse en 2008 par rapport à 2005. Parallèlement, l’incidence réelle de la corruption (pourcentagede victime) a nettement diminué.
Who are the African National Congress (ANC) and the Democratic Alliance (DA)? Together with party membership figures and election results, there is one additional reliable measure—party identification.
This briefing paper provides an analytical view of the process of implementing the new constitution promulgated in 2010 and the subsequent impact it has had on the processes of democracy, governance and constitutionalism in the country. The analysis is based on the results of Round 5 Afrobarometer survey conducted in late 2011.
This briefing paper assesses public attitudes about democracy and governance in Mali at a difficult time in the country’s history. The challenge of rebuilding an effective and accountablengovernment will require visionary national leadership. But it also will require citizens who demand that the country return to a path of sustainable political development. Hence it is important to enquire about what Malians are thinking about the causes and status of — and possible solutions to — their country’s political crisis.
Namibia is usually regarded as one of the best performing democracies in Africa.Using the Afrobarometer Round 5 survey, this paper compares public attitudes that are central to democratic life across high performing countries in Africa. Several important survey questions pertaining to the demand for democracy, the supply of democracy, and the citizens’ role in democratic life will help in the comparison of democratic attitudes. In addition to Namibia, other countries usually at the top of democracy ratings will be included in the comparison to judge the consolidation of democratic values.
This briefing paper examines the relevance of political parties in Malawi’s democracy. Beyond the functionalist assumption that existence suggests some positive contribution of an organ to the whole, this paper looks at social operational pre-requisites that justify the relevance and existence of political parties. Specifically the paper focuses on the linkage role of political parties.
This briefing paper explores the opinions of Malawi an adults on women’s political leadership ability. Existing literature contends that people hold opinions in the form of “stereotypes” that have potentially negative implications for women candidates, especially when they are running for national office (Huddy and Terkildesen 1993, Braden 1996, Kahn 1996, Feehan 2006, Chilobwe 2011). Stereotypes reflect perceived rather than real traits of an individual (Huddy and Terkildesen 1993).
This briefing paper reviews Basotho’s support for key aspects of democracy including free association and freedom of the press, preference for democracy government and elected leaders hip, as well as citizens’ beliefs about government accountability and the separation of powers.
This briefing paper intends to shed light on Ghanaian attitudes toward political accountability and assess the ordinary citizens’ role in this crucial part of the democratic process. In doing so, the paper draws from evidence from Round 5 of the Afrobarometer survey regarding five key aspects of political accountability - associational activity and local political participation; citizen engagement with the state; access to information; accountability and responsibility; and perceptions of corruption.
Since the installation of the Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) in 2009, the word ‘devolution’ has been one of the buzz words in the country. It is a contentious, emotive and divisive issue with strong regional overtones. It is also a frequently misunderstood and sometimes deliberately distorted term. Technically, devolution is a transfer or delegation of power by an upper level of government (often central level) to lower units of governance, e.g., provincial and local governments.
This briefing paper assesses citizens’ perceptions of their economic well-being, government’s economic performance and public and social services delivery using the first Afrobarometer survey data collected in Sierra Leonean in 2012.
This briefing paper examines the way Tanzanians perceive the National Assembly and its functioning in the post-multiparty election era (i.e., since 1995). Prior to 1995, it can be argued that the elections had some democratic trappings; however, in a true democracy the political process is inclusive of opposition contestation and allows for the full participation of all citizens regardless of ideology, political affiliation, ethnicity/tribe, religion or any other criteria that maybe used to disenfranchise any group or segment of society.