Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe

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AD240: Ill-prepared? Health-care service delivery in Zimbabwe

As Zimbabwe struggled to contain a deadly cholera outbreak in September-October 2018, questions focused again on failures of infrastructure and leadership that continue to leave the country vulnerable to such a preventable, “medieval” disease (Burke, 2018; Eyewitness News, 2018). Zimbabwe has suffered repeated cholera outbreaks, including one in 2008 that claimed more than 4,000 lives and infected more than 98,000 people (World Health Organization, 2009). 

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Currency reform: Zimbabweans reject bond notes and rand, prefer either U.S. or Zim dollar

On a pressing issue facing Zimbabwe’s new government – currency reform – the country’s citizens express a strong preference for using the U.S. dollar or Zimbabwe dollar rather than bond notes or the South African rand, according to a recent public opinion survey.

The U.S. dollar drew the greatest popular support (50%), followed closely by the Zimbabwe dollar (42%), in a nationally representative survey in April-May by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI). Few citizens favoured the South African rand (5%) or bond notes (2%).

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Who will heal Zimbabwe? Public opinion points to steps toward nation-building

Though polarized and distrustful of political adversaries, Zimbabweans would welcome a wide range of specific actions to help heal the country in the wake of its disputed election, a new analysis from Afrobarometer suggests.

Public opinion survey data from 1999 through July 2018 document Zimbabwe’s deep divisions, including:

▪ High levels of social and political distrust, especially among supporters of opposition political parties. 

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PP49: Heal the beloved country: Zimbabwe’s polarized electorate

For a moment, Zimbabwe’s July 30, 2018, elections seemed to promise relief from a traumatic political past. An aging autocrat had been deposed and his successor intoned pledges of “a new dispensation.” A dormant opposition movement began to reawaken to opportunities for open political campaigning. At home and abroad, Zimbabwe’s well-wishers allowed themselves a cautious hope that change was finally afoot. But change was not to be.

Another disputed election

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Fear, self-censorship decline but still high as Zimbabwe approaches election, new survey finds

Fear of electoral violence and of openly expressing their views declined but were still at above-average levels as Zimbabwe approached its July 30 presidential election, a new survey shows.  

Findings of the nationally representative survey conducted between 25 June and 6 July 2018 by the Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) also show that a growing majority approved of the government’s performance in preventing electoral violence.

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Findings from a pre-election survey in Zimbabwe: June/July 2018

At a glance

Fear of electoral violence declined slightly but remained high: The proportion of Zimbabweans who fear becoming a victim of electoral violence dropped by 8 percentage points since May 2018 but is still above average among African countries.

Zimbabweans remained apprehensive about the possibility of electoral manipulation: As was the case in May 2018, significant minorities were worried about ballot secrecy, counting of votes, announcement of incorrect results, post-election violence, and the military not accepting election results.

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Findings from a pre-election baseline survey in Zimbabwe: April/May 2018

At a glance

  • Country direction: A majority of Zimbabweans say the country is going in the wrong direction.
  • Perceptions of military intervention: Most Zimbabweans see the military intervention that led to the resignation of President Mugabe as either “the right thing to do” or “wrong but necessary.” But most also want the military to stay out of politics.
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Zimbabweans satisfied with voter registration but doubtful about Electoral Commission

Approaching their watershed 2018 election in July, Zimbabweans are pleased with their voter-registration process but doubtful about their Electoral Commission, a new national survey by Afrobarometer partner Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) indicates.

Large majorities say they are satisfied with their experiences with biometric voter registration, but only about half trust the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and think it performs its duties as a neutral body guided only by law.

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AD206: Zimbabwe’s MPs, local councillors get poor ratings on responsiveness and performance

In a democracy, elected local and parliamentary representatives are critical channels through which citizens’ views and preferences can impact local and national policies. They are also important conduits for disseminating information about government actions to the grass roots.

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WP181: Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable? Evidence from Africa

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.

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WP180: Police-citizen interaction in Africa: An exploration of factors that influence victims’ reporting of crimes

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.

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WP179: Electricity provision and tax mobilization in Africa

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.

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AD196: Who’s watching? Voters seen as key in holding elected officials accountable

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).

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AD195: Most Zimbabweans trust the army but reject military rule, don’t feel free to voice criticism

The role and capacities of the military are critical elements of a modern state. In functional democracies, the military’s institutional boundaries are tightly prescribed, excluding it from the political arena. It must be both trusted and adequately resourced to effectively discharge its mandate of protecting the country from external and internal threats. 

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AD189: Zimbabweans affirm right to government information, but skeptical about access

Information is the lifeblood of political accountability. Without reliable, timely information, citizens are unable to evaluate and constructively engage with what their government is doing. If such information is absent, willfully denied, physically inaccessible, or not available in a format that is understandable to users, public accountability is undermined (ANSA-EAP, 2017).

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Radio remains the most-used source of news in many African countries

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.

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PP43: Tax compliance Africans affirm civic duty but lack trust in tax department

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. 

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WP176: The autocratic trust bias: Politically sensitive survey items and self-censorship

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.

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