Good jobs and economic growth top the priorities of African citizens, but government performance on these issues lags, according to new Afrobarometer findings from across the continent.
Uganda’s legal system is in the spotlight following a recent surge in election-related violence, some involving high-profile members of Parliament (Al Jazeera, 2018). While these cases have reinvigorated the conversation about judicial integrity and autonomy in Uganda, this is hardly the first time the country’s judiciary has been accused of being under political influence.
Even before the recent surge in election-related violence, a majority of Ugandans saw freedom for Uganda’s political opposition as shrinking, an analysis of Afrobarometer survey data shows.
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Popular support for a free news media has declined significantly in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania – three countries currently making headlines for government attempts to limit press freedom.
Recent Afrobarometer surveys show that the proportion of respondents who say the government “should have the right to prevent the media from publishing things that it considers harmful to society” has risen sharply in Tanzania and Uganda, and more modestly in Kenya, over the past five years. At the same time, fewer citizens say they feel free to express their opinions.
This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done on its effects on other strategies for democratic accountability, such as contacting an elected representative and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these forms of participation.
While personal insecurity in Africa is typically associated with civil wars, crime is actually a far more common threat to the continent’s citizens. Rates of homicide, sexual assault, and property crime in Africa are often far higher than global averages. Despite such threats, many Africans do not report crimes to the police.
In this paper, we provide evidence on how the provision of social infrastructure such as reliable electricity can be leveraged to increase taxation in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, using comprehensive data from the latest round of the Afrobarometer survey, we estimate, via the instrumental variable approach, the effect of access and reliability of electricity on tax compliance attitudes of citizens in 36 SSA countries.
In addition to the growing number of African states that conduct regular elections and embed democratic principles in their constitutions, evidence comes from survey-based research that most Africans support democratic values and reward governments that adhere to democratic rules (Mattes & Bratton, 2007; Bratton & Mattes, 2001). However, in many countries, citizen demand for democracy is not met by supply of democracy (Mattes & Bratton, 2016) as governments, once elected, fail to respect the norms of democratic governance (Gyimah-Boadi, 2015).
More than eight in 10 Ugandans (82%) say it is “never” justified for men to beat their wives, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey.
Opposition to wife-beating is high among both men and women, in rural as well as urban areas, in all age groups and regions, and at all education levels, survey findings show.
Round 7 questionnaire for Uganda.
Despite audience gains for television and digital media, radio is still by far the most frequent information source for Africans, a new Afrobarometer analysis suggests.
Released on the occasion of World Radio Day (13 February), the analysis is based on Afrobarometer surveys in eight African countries in 2017.
While radio still leads the pack, a previous Afrobarometer report shows television, the Internet, and social media gaining ground.
Round 7 summary of results (2017) for Uganda.
Parliament of Uganda. Photo by Nicolas Bamulanzeki, photo journalist at Observer weekly newspaper, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Over the past decade, Uganda has emerged as a success story of African development. Economic growth and diversification, relative political stability, and considerable investment in infrastructure have seen the country rise as a regional power (Murray, Mesfin, & Wolters, 2016). But to many international observers, this success is dimmed by the long rule of President Yoweri Museveni and a political system that has been described as “dictatorship light” (Gettleman, 2016). While elections are conducted regularly, many have questioned how free they are.
In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state.
Uganda’s constitution promises citizens a great range of freedoms and rights (of expression, association, privacy, religion, etc.) and charges the government with ensuring public security. When these two priorities – freedom and security – are perceived to clash, debates can become heated between friends, in the news media, in Parliament, and in the courts.
Because of a perceived risk of repressive action, some survey questions are likely sensitive in more autocratic countries while less so in more democratic countries. Yet survey data on potentially sensitive topics are frequently used in comparative research despite concerns about comparability.
At a glance
Many Ugandans fear becoming victims of political intimidation or violence during elections.
A majority think that they have to be careful about what they say about politics and which political organisations they join, and that the freedom of the opposition to function is more constrained now than it was a few years ago.
Fear and experience of domestic insecurity are high.
Solid majorities say the armed forces keep the country safe and are professional and respectful to citizens.
More Ugandans say they prefer democracy over any other system, but fewer are satisfied with the way their democracy is actually working, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.
Popular preference for democracy has been remarkably cyclical, rising before and falling after presidential elections. But satisfaction has been on a 17-year slide.
Three-fourths of Ugandans favour maintaining an age limit of 75 years for presidential candidates, a recent Afrobarometer survey shows.
Ugandans overwhelmingly support proposed reforms aimed at improving Parliament and elections, a new Afrobarometer survey shows.
Almost all adult Ugandans support a call to improve electoral transparency, especially during vote tallying, transmission, and declaration. Similarly, huge majorities favour a national dialogue to resolve the political impasse following the 2016 elections, a reduction in the size of Parliament to save taxpayers money, and a tightening of laws on campaign financing and accountability.
At a glance
- Overwhelming public support for reform: Large majorities favour reform proposals designed to improve Parliament and elections.
- Cross-cutting support: Support for reform transcends political and demographic differences.
- Most popular reforms: Improving electoral transparency, reducing size of Parliament, and launching a national dialogue over 2016 elections are among the most strongly supported proposals.
In most African countries, substantial barriers still inhibit citizens’ access to justice, a new Afrobarometer analysis finds.
Based on a special access-to-justice module in national surveys in 36 African countries, the sobering report identifies long delays, high costs, corruption, the complexity of legal processes, and a lack of legal counsel as major obstacles for citizens seeking legal remedies.
Dozens of African countries regularly conduct national and local elections.
Each election picks a winner.
But beyond winners and losers, the quality of each election also shapes how people feel about their political system in general.
Free and fair elections make people want more democracy.
Elections tainted by repression, fraud, or violence have the opposite effect.
So how good are Africa’s elections?
Afrobarometer surveyed more than 53,000 citizens in 36 countries, in every region of Africa.
A decade-long upward trend in African citizens’ demand for democracy has ended with a downward turn since 2012, according to a new Afrobarometer analysis.
But despite warning signs of a democratic recession, public demand for democracy remains higher than a decade ago, and most Africans still say they want more democracy than they’re actually getting – a good basis for future democratic gains.
One important factor: the quality of elections. African countries with high-quality elections are more likely to show increases in popular demand for democracy.
- On average across 36 African countries, China is the second-most-popular model for national development (cited by 24% of respondents), trailing only the United States of America (30%). About one in 10 respondents prefer their former colonial power (13%) or South Africa (11%) as a model.
- Across 36 African countries, fewer than half of respondents say they trust their MPs (48%) and local councillors (46%) “somewhat” or “a lot.” Among 12 public institutions and leaders, MPs and local councillors rank eighth and ninth in public trust.