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Zimbabweans pessimistic about economy and direction of the country

More than six in ten (63%) adult Zimbabweans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction, according to the most recent Afrobarometer survey (November 2014). This pessimistic outlook is shared across demographic groups of gender, age, place of residence (POR) and province though the depth of opinion differs. For example, while nearly three quarters of urban dwellers (73%) expressed pessimism, less than six in ten of their rural dwellers (58%) share this view and more males (67%) than females (60%) say the country is going the wrong way.

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Zimbabweans largely ignorant of the 2013 Constitution

More than three quarters of Zimbabweans do not know about the Constitution enacted in May 2013 to replace the 33-year-old Lancaster House Charter. The new supreme law was overwhelmingly and peacefully approved in a referendum in March 2013 in which half of the adult population turned out to vote. Close to one and half years after this historic event, the latest Afro barometer survey in Zimbabwe reveals that more than three quarters of the country’s citizens (78%) either know nothing or very little about their national constitution.

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AD23: Ghana’s decentralization: Locally centralized decision making ill serves its public

Metropolitan, municipal, and district assemblies (MMDAs), along with complementary sub-structures, are the major features of Ghana’s decentralized local government system initiated in the early 1990s. The core functions of MMDAs, as set out in the 1993 Local Government Act (Act 462), include ensuring the overall development of the district by a) preparing district development plans and budgets, b) initiating programs for the development of basic infrastructure, and c) providing municipal works and services in their jurisdictions.

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Zambians’ trust in the judiciary still high but begins to decline, legitimacy also suffers

The percentage of Zambian citizens who recognize the legitimacy of the courts of law has declined from 79% in 2012 to 68% in 2014. The most recent Afrobarometer survey found that the percentage of Zambians who do not trust the judiciary  has also declined from 62% in 2012 to 59% in 2014.

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PP19: Ghana's oil revenue management: Convergence of popular opinion, the law, and practice

Ghana’s efforts to explore and develop the country’s oil potential, spearheaded by the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC), culminated in the 2007 discovery of oil in commercial quantities offshore at Cape Three Points in the Western region. Three years later, production commenced at the Jubilee Field.

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Zimbabwe is going in the wrong direction; but whilst public approval of MPs and councillors’ performance tumbles, approval of President Mugabe’s leadership remains steady

Despite most Zimbabweans expressing discontent with the overall direction of the country, in terms of its deteriorating economic performance as well as rising corruption, the majority still approve of President Robert Mugabe’s leadership performance. His approval rating has only decreased slightly since it was last measured in 2012.. This persistent positive evaluation of the president stands in stark contrast to the growing opinion that Zimbabwe, as a country, is headed in the wrong direction.

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AD30: African publics strongly support term limits, resist leaders’ efforts to extend their tenure

At the end of the 20th century, many African countries adopted presidential term limits aspart of a broader set of constitutional rules that accompanied the transition from personal and authoritarian rule to pluralistic modes of governance. While term limits were widely embraced by the larger African public, these rules have in recent years come under increasing attack from incumbent presidents seeking to extend their tenures.

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AD37: Is Kenya's anti-terrorist crackdown exacerbating drivers of violent extremism?

Kenya has seen a dramatic rise in violent extremism: Between 1970 and 2007, the country experienced 190 terrorist attacks, an average of five per year; since 2008, the average has escalated to 47 attacks a year. The overwhelming majority of these incidents have been attributed to Al-Shabaab. Originating in Somalia in 2005, the group has since regionalized its operations and established an active presence in Kenya, where it has successfully recruited and radicalized Kenyan nationals and carried out numerous attacks on a variety of local targets (Botha, 2014).

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BP153: Going in the wrong direction? Ugandans report declining government effectiveness

In the Round 5 Afrobarometer survey in Uganda, 74% of Ugandans said the country was headed in the wrong direction. This was a dramatic change from just one year earlier, when 28% said Uganda was headed in the wrong direction. Analysis of these findings suggests that this perception is fuelled by several factors, including dissatisfaction with prevailing economic conditions and declining personal living conditions (see Afrobarometer Briefing Paper No. 101).

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AD40: Zimbabwe seen headed in the wrong direction, but president's leadership approval steady

Most Zimbabweans express discontent with the overall direction of their country, deteriorating economic conditions, rising corruption, and the performance of their elected leaders – except for President Robert Mugabe.

According to the latest Afrobarometer survey, popular assessments of the country’s direction and of how members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors are doing their jobs are considerably more negative than in 2012, but a majority of Zimbabweans continue to approve of the president’s performance.

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BP121: A tale of two presidents: Assessments of ‘Chitsulo Cha Njanje’ and ‘Amayi’ in Malawi

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.

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Corruption in Ghana: Above the din of official protestation, citizens’ voices are being heard

Sometimes you complete a study, release the results, and then … listen to the resounding silence.

Other times your results hit a nerve – and the nerve tries to hit back, attacking everything from your findings to your methodology to the integrity of your intentions.

Then there are occasions – still too rare – when the initial emotional backlash is followed by a willingness to consider the possibility that the voices of everyday citizens might actually be worth hearing and acting on.

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Trust, approval ratings high for Namibia’s president and prime minister following a long trend

Most Namibians trust their president and prime minister and approve of their job performance, the latest Afrobarometer survey indicates.

The survey findings suggest that Prime Minister Hage Geingob, who will be the country’s first non-Oshivambo presidential candidate in the 2014 elections, will continue to enjoy the public’s strong support for SWAPO. Rural respondents gave President Pohamba 14% more trust than did urban respondents. No ethnic reactions nor apathy is evident in the survey results.

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Blog: Which African democracies are vulnerable to political instability?

Most of us were taken by surprise when Mali – a budding democratic success story after three open elections and two peaceful transitions of power – imploded with a separatist insurgency, a military coup, and the breakdown of state control in 2012.

What did we miss? Were there signs of impending instability that political observers overlooked in the pre-crisis period? And if so, can such early-warning indicators help us predict political risks for other African governments and political regimes?

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PP24: Trust in political institutions in Senegal: Why did it drop?

The 2000 presidential elections were a turning point in the political trajectory of Senegal. After four decades of single-party and limited multi-party rule, the country’s first true political alternation handed power to Abdoulaye Wade and ushered Senegal into the ranks of stable democracies in Africa. President Wade won re-election, with a comfortable majority, in 2007.

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Ugandans’ views on multipartism

Ugandans support multipartism as a viable political system of governance but many are not satisfied with the way multi-party politics work in Uganda, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

A significant proportion of Ugandans say that competition between political parties often leads to violent conflict, that the opposition political parties and their supporters are often silenced by Government, and many fear becoming victims of political intimidation or violence during election campaigns.

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BP90: Integration in East Africa: Uninformed Kenyans oppose political federation

When the treaty establishing the East African Community came into force on July 7, 2000, the three East African countries of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania officially set their goal as the creation of a federation of East African states.  The founders of the East African Federation (EAF) expected it to be realized in four stages – a customs union , a common market , a monetary union , and eventually a political federation  to be achieved in 2013.  A committee on Fast Tracking East African Federation (the Wako Committee)  was established to help speed up the process.

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AD43: Citizens hold mixed views on Nigeria's international relations

The international community is watching with intense interest as Nigeria’s new government settles in and begins to pursue its development priorities, which are centred on fighting corruption; creating employment, especially for young people; and improving security. How do Nigerians, in turn, perceive the international community and its role in their country’s development?

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Corruption perceptions in Ghana: Different approaches reach similar conclusions

Blog post by Daniel Armah-Attoh

Ghana’s place at the forefront of African democracy and good governance has been called into question by a recent series of corruption scandals. Quite dishearteningly, some public officials have been found defending alleged wrongdoers in media discussion programs, and some whistle-blowers suffered reprisals instead of being protected.

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WP159: Does clientelism help Tanzanian MPs establish long-term electoral support?

Tanzanian Members of Parliament (MPs) and political analysts describe the primary roles of MPs with a variety of phrases: benefactors, providers, executors, social workers, saviours, multi-faceted donors, even “walking ATMs". Indeed, in Tanzania, where a majority of citizens are poor and the government lacks resources and capacity to provide sufficient social services, MPs provide various kinds of financial and material assistance to their constituents to support their lives and cultivate their electoral support.

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AD46: Demand for competitive multiparty politics is high in Zimbabwe

Starting from five major political parties at independence, the history of multiparty politics in Zimbabwe is marked by a fragmented opposition that reached a peak in a power-sharing Government of National Unity (GNU) but has never broken the ruling party’s 35-year hold on power. Does this history reflect what Zimbabweans want in their politics?

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