BP80: Zambian citizens, democracy and political participation

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Briefing papers
Lolojih, Peter K.

Towards the end of the 1980s, Zambians’ desire to participate in governing their country was demonstrated by criticism of the one-party state and calls for a return to a multiparty political system. The holding of multiparty elections in 1991 and the proliferation of political parties underscored the Zambians’ preference for democratic government. The return to multiparty politics meant that Zambians, through their elected representatives (local government Councillors and Members of Parliament), would have the opportunity to provide oversight on governance issues with a view to helping to shape their own destiny. Over the years, many Zambians have continuously submitted to various commissions appointed by government to develop a  Constitution that would adequately uphold democratic ideals, and ensure the protection of human rights. In order to achieve such desires, the need for sustained demand and support for democratic government and effective political representation cannot be overemphasised. This Briefing Paper summarises the Zambian citizens’ perception with regard to political participation in general and support for democracy in particular, as captured by an Afrobarometer survey conducted in June 2009.