Africans increasingly support multiparty democracy, but trust in political parties remains low

Public attitudes in Africa show increasing support for multiparty democracy, but both ruling and opposition parties still struggle to gain popular trust, Afrobarometer survey findings show.

A majority of Africans say they “feel close to” a political party and believe multiple parties are needed to give voters a genuine choice, but fewer than half trust parties even “somewhat.” These findings, based on 2014/2015 surveys in 36 African countries, were shared by Afrobarometer Executive Director E. Gyimah-Boadi at the Consultative Workshop of the Department of Political Affairs of the African Union Commission’s Political Party Program in Accra.

Political parties are an essential element of a well-functioning democracy, Gyimah-Boadi argued, but earning popular trust – and thus greater legitimacy and better prospects for a country’s democratic consolidation – remains a challenge.