This briefing paper uses a recent Afrobarometer public opinion survey to compare people's assessments of the two most recent presidents of Malawi, the incumbent, Mrs. Joyce Banda, and her predecessor, the late Dr. Bingu wa Mutharika. The paper checks whether people make consistent comparisons given that President Banda had been in office for only two months at the time of the survey, while President Mutharika had served seven years in office. Having checked the consistency of the assessments, it examines which of the two is seen to be better. We expect that some people would honestly fail to assess both Presidents, and in particular that a sizeable proportion would be unable to assess President Banda because of her short period in office. We also expect that some people would form an opinion about President Banda based on her history as leader of a non-governmental organizations (NGO), a Member of Parliament (MP), a Minister and as Vice President. As such it is necessary that we discuss briefly their political history in Malawi, after first introducing the Afrobarometer.
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