Mozambique's first democratic multiparty election in 1994 was a national watershed, bringing an end to 17 years of political conflict, instability and civil war, and closing a chapter of over a century of authoritarian rule begun by Portuguese colonization. But what do ordinary Mozambicans think about wha has occurred since then?
One of the clearest findings of empirical political science is that the prospects for sustaining democratic government in a poor society are far lower than in a relatively wealthy one. Precisely why poverty undermines democracy, however, has been much less clear. In order to answer this question, we use data from seven 1999-2000 Afrobarometer surveys in Southern Africa to develop measures of poverty and well being, as well as its possible consequences both in terms of day-to-day survival, and political attitudes and behaviour.
Eight years into South Africa's experiment with inclusive democracy, we look to the views of ordinary citizens -the ultimate consumers of what democratic governments supply- for perhaps the most conclusive assessment of the quality of democratic governance. In general, all South Africans are becoming more positive about the overall democratic regime, and more optimistic about where it will be in 10 years time.
Among both scholars and visitors, Cape Verde is typically labeled an African exception. Since independence, the island nation has had no wars; its levels of corruption and urban violence are low by African standards; and power has alternated between two parties. The peaceful and negotiated nature of Cape Verde's transition to and practice of democracy is a distinct trait of Capeverdean politics.
The results of a second Afrobarometer survey in Uganda, conducted in August-September 2002, reveal that Ugandans continue to display a considerable degree of satisfaction with both their political and economic systems. But as memories of Uganda's traumatic pre-Movement past fade and the public's focus shifts from internal conflict and recovery to stability and development, there are also indications of increasingly critical assessments of the nation's other problems, especially economic ones, as well as waning patience with the government's efforts to address them.
Since its emergence from a brutal, 17-year civil war, Mozambique's process of political reform has faced a number of challenges. The first has been to empower ordinary Mozambicans by allowing them to participate in a democratic system and enabling them to voice their demands to the state and hold it accountable. The second has been to rebuild a state with the capacity to respond to citizen demands effectively. And given the long history of violent division, a third challenge has been to build a state that enjoys broad legitimacy that can span the bitter partisan divides of the past.
Conventional views of African politics imply that Africans arrive at political opinions largely on the basis of either their position in the social structure or enduring cultural values. In contrast, we argue that Africans form attitudes to democracy based upon what they learn about what it is and what it does. We test this argument with a unique data set known as Afrobarometer Round 1, which is based on surveys of nationally representative samples of citizens in 12 African countries that have recently undergone political reform.
In 2002,after decades of discontent and oppression, Lesotho went to the polls to elect a government acceptable to the great majority of its citizens. The fears of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (that the opposition would stir up more trouble) and of the opposition (that their voices would never again be heard) were quieted by the election and installation of a new and much more balanced parliament. Eighty members won a plurality of votes in their constituencies, while another 40 were elected under a complex system of proportional representation.
The first Kenya Afrobarometer survey was conducted in August-September 2003, just eight months after the first electoral transfer of power in the country's history. This national sample survey included 2398 interviews in all eight provinces of the country. Overall, the survey findings clearly capture the palpable sense of almost unbounded optimism and hope that permeated Kenya in the days and months following the election.
Le thème central de ce deuxième rapport d'enquêtes Afrobaromètre est la perception du rôle du marché dans l'opinion publique malienne et ce dans un contexte de démocratisation. Cette perception est mesurée sur un échantillon aléatoire de 1 286 adultes des deux sexes dans toutes les 8 régions administratives du pays ainsi que dans le district de Bamako.
Pour répondre à la problématique pose dans ce rapport à savoir la nature de la démocratie sénégalaise et ses performances et contreperformances, l’équipe d’Afrobarometre a réalisé une enquête nationale d’opinion en décembre 2002. L’enquête était basée sur un échantillon de 1200 personnes, âgés d’au moins 18 ans, proportionnellement repartis sur les dix premières régions du pays (Matam est compris dans Saint Louis). Cette enquête intervient dans le cadre de Afrobarometre 2 (série conduite dans 15 pays africains).
Do political institutions affect citizens' satisfaction with democracy? Using cross-sectional Afrobarometer survey data on attitudes toward democracy for 10 sub-Saharan African countries together with country-level data on political institutions in which citizens live, this article demonstrates that political institutions do indeed influence citizens' attitudes toward democratic performance. Political institutions mediate the relationship between citizens' political status - i.e., as winners, non-partisans, or losers - and their satisfaction with the way democracy works in the country.
This report probes the public mood in Zimbabwe in mid-2004, documents changes in public opinion since 1999, and compares Zimbabwe to other African countries. The results are situated in the context of the country's current economic and political crises. On the economy, we find that Zimbabweans feel economically deprived and report more persistent hunger than in any other country surveyed. On the political front, Zimbabweans are losing faith in democracy and increasing numbers acquiesce to the idea of single-party rule.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, new democracies have emerged mainly in the context of relatively effective states. Using aggregate indicators of governance and new public opinion data, this article shows which aspects of state building are most important. The scope of state infrastructure and the delivery of welfare services have little impact. But the establishment of political order -especially as experienced through improvements in personal security- and the legitimacy of the state -as measured by leaders' adherence to a rule of law- are critical to democratization.
Over the past three decades, the worldwide spread of democratic regimes has reinvigorated scholarly interest in mass support for democracy. According to broad strands of literature, a popular “commitment to democratic values, and support for a democratic system, are necessary conditions for the consolidation” of democratic governance (Fuchs 1999: 127).
This report analyses data from the Afrobarometer Round 2 survey conducted in Malawi in May 2003. The results suggest that there is a high demand for democracy in Malawi, but also that Malawians are being supplied with less democracy than they want. They prefer democracy to any other form of government and, for the most part, they reject dictatorial tendencies, although some nostalgia for the authoritarian past is evident. Comparing the demand for and supply of democracy and good governance displays some of the weaknesses in the democratization process that could explain this nostalgia.
Based on a national sample survey conducted in Namibia as part of Afrobarometer Round 2, this report finds that, even though democracy is yet to become consolidated at the attitudinal level, Namibia appears to be a "democracy without democrats." Among the key findings supporting this proposition are the following:
Conventional wisdom suggests that, for new democracies to survive, citizens must receive the benefits of socioeconomic development. Yet an emerging literature shows that, following democratic transitions, the delivery of polittical goods such as order, civil rights and good governance, can sustain a new regime, at least in the short run. But how long does any such honeymoon last?
Does the introduction of proportionality in electoral systems help to boost popular evaluations of democracy? This article traces shifts over time in political support, using Afrobarometer data to measure mass satisfaction with democracy and public trust in political institutions in Lesotho. We find that electoral reforms have both direct and indirect effects. In the aggregate, Lesotho's transition from a majoritarian to a mixed electoral system is directly associated with increased levels of citizen support for the country's state and regime.
In this paper, we particularly investigate how basic preferences, or values, about the political and economic systems in Nigeria relate to one another. Another crucial question is how citizens’ preferences for a democratic regime (or a particular type of economy, whether market-oriented or government-controlled) are influenced by their assessments of current government policy and performance.
It has been argued that democratically elected governments may have greater incentives than their authoritarian counterparts to provide primary education for their citizens. It has also been argued that primary education may, in turn, reinforce democracy by prompting individuals to adopt more democratic attitudes.
Elections are thought to bolster legitimacy by providing fair mechanisms for selecting leaders. In Africa, where competitive elections are often unfamiliar and imperfect, losers express much less support for their political institutions than do winners. Analysis of Round 1 Afrobarometer survey data from more than 20,000 respondents in 12 countries demonstrates that losers are less inclined than winners to trust their political institutions, consent to government authority, and feel that voting matters.
Recent political transitions around the world have cast doubt on arguments about the socioeconomic preconditions for democracy. A democratic political regime has long been regarded as an attribute of high-income, industrialized economies. Yet new scholarship has revised this law by observing that “third wave” democracies have been installed in both rich and poor countries. We can only do justice to this topic, however, by testing the same relationship at a micro-level. Are poor people any more or less attached to democracy than rich people?
Education is assumed to be an important influence on citizens’ understanding and endorsement of democracy, but whether this occurs in newly democratic societies with relatively low levels of educational provision is less clear. This paper explores the effect of education on understandings of and support for democratic government in Malawi - paying particular attention to the consequences of primary schooling, which remains the modal experience of Malawian voters.
In May 2005, the Government of Zimbabwe launched Operation Murambatsvina (OM), a state-sponsored campaign to stifle independent economic and political activity in the country’s urban areas. This article employs a national probability sample survey to analyze the popular reactions of ordinary Zimbabweans to this landmark event. It shows that the application of state repression s쳮ds at some goals, fails at others, and has powerful unintended effects.
Transitions to competitive, multiparty politics in African countries during the 1990s were jubilantly welcomed, both on the continent and internationally. Today, Africans enjoy unprecedented opportunities to vote, and many still revel in greater individual and political freedoms. But the full potential of democracy – including the promise of accountable governance – has yet to be fulfilled. Why has democracy – or, at least, multiparty elections – so far failed to secure better governance and greater accountability?
We revisit the literature on modernization theory and note that the theory posits that both increases in wealth and increases in crime rates accompany modernization. This fact is often ignored by much of the scholarship on democratization, which generally focuses on economic conditions. Using 2003 survey data from the Afrobarometer and the Latinbarometer, we examine how victimization and perceptions of crime influence citizens’ attitudes toward democracy.
How do electoral institutions interact with the ethnic fractionalization in shaping citizens’ attitudes towards their political systems? Using Afrobarometer survey data collected from 15 sub-Saharan African countries, along with contextual variables, this study demonstrates that electoral systems have differential effects on citizens’ attitudes about regime performance in various social contexts.
The widespread collapse of authoritarian and totalitarian political systems that followed the fall of the Berlin Wall opened the possibility for the wider application of survey research in many countries in the developing world. At the same time, rapidly changing priorities of scientific funders, along with the newfound missions of aid agencies in democratic strengthening, led to an unprecedented proliferation of comparative survey research.
Ethnicity is a central theme in the analysis of Nigerian politics. Conventional approaches to ethnic politics in Nigeria often assume the existence of stable identities and consistent group motives. It is also commonly asserted that Nigerian political behavior is driven by ethnic solidarities. Ethnic political parties, clientelism, and social polarization are all associated with strong communal allegiances. These practices are regarded as inherently corrosive to a plural democracy.