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BP123: Governance and democracy attitudes in higher performing African countries

Namibia is usually regarded as one of the best performing democracies in Africa.Using the Afrobarometer Round 5 survey, this paper compares public attitudes that are central to democratic life across high performing countries in Africa. Several important survey questions pertaining to the demand for democracy, the supply of democracy, and the citizens’ role in democratic life will help in the comparison of democratic attitudes. In addition to Namibia, other countries usually at the top of democracy ratings will be included in the comparison to judge the consolidation of democratic values.

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BP118: Popular attitudes toward democracy in Mauritius

Expert assessments of democracy such as the Freedom House Index, Mo Ibrahim Index on Governance, among others, have always rated Mauritius as a paragon of democracy on the African continent. The availability of data from the 2012 Afrobarometer survey that gauged the attitudes and opinions of Mauritian citizens on democracy, governance, the economy, leadership, identity and other related issues, provides us with the first opportunity to test whether ordinary Mauritians agree with those assessments. At the same time, we can compare Mauritius with other African countries. 

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BP117: Islands drifting apart? A comparative analysis of the socio-economic Experience of Rodrigues and Mauritius

Despite the socio-political and economic achievements of Mauritius, there is a palpable feeling that the benefits of development have not been evenly distributed among residents of the country’s two main islands, Mauritius and Rodrigues. While citizens of the main island of Mauritius have benefitted from the economic growth of recent years, the economy on the island of Rodrigues continues to be heavily reliant on agriculture, fishing and a small tourism industry.

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BP113: Crisis in Mali: Ambivalent popular attitudes on the way forward

This briefing paper assesses public attitudes about democracy and governance in Mali at a difficult time in the country’s history. The challenge of rebuilding an effective and accountablengovernment will require visionary national leadership. But it also will require citizens who demand that the country return to a path of sustainable political development. Hence it is important to enquire about what Malians are thinking about the causes and status of — and possible solutions to — their country’s political crisis. 

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BP111: Citizen perceptions of democracy in Uganda: The growing gap between expectations and realities

This bulletin focuses on the extent to which public concerns pertaining to democracy and human rights may contribute to Ugandans’feelings that their country is headed in the wrong direction. While Ugandans express a strong preference for democratic institutions and practices and a majority of respondents express high levels of satisfaction with the current state of democracy and human rights in Uganda, the survey also demonstrates that a considerable gap has emerged between citizens’ expectations of democracy and the realities on the ground in Uganda.

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BP93: The uses of the Afrobarometer in promoting democratic governance

Over the past twenty years, approaches to development in Africa have undergone a fundamental change.  Practitioners no longer regard development as a largely technical exercise.  Economic growth and social wellbeing are now rarely seen as simple matters of, say, getting the prices right for maize production or finding a medical cure for guinea worm disease.  Instead, we now understand that technical fixes only work well if embedded in a political and organizational infrastructure that generates broad support for policies and ensures the reliable delivery of goods and services.

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BP80: Zambian citizens, democracy and political participation

Towards the end of the 1980s, Zambians’ desire to participate in governing their country was demonstrated by criticism of the one-party state and calls for a return to a multiparty political system. The holding of multiparty elections in 1991 and the proliferation of political parties underscored the Zambians’ preference for democratic government.

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BP70: Are democratic citizens emerging in Africa?

It has been nearly two decades since many African countries embarked on democratic reforms, the focus of which has understandably been on the introduction and/or reintroduction of formal democratic institutions and processes such as constitutions and multiparty elections. But the argument is often made that it is not possible to have democracy without “democrats.” The purpose of this report is therefore to explore the extent to which Africans are orienting their attitudes and behaviour in the manner expected of citizens in a democratic society.

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BP68: Poverty reduction, economic growth and democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa

In this Briefing Paper, we find that even with the significant growth that Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced over the past decade, as of 2008 lived poverty (or the extent to which people regularly go without basic necessities) is still extensive.  It has declined in 9 of the Afrobarometer countries for which we have over time data during this period, it has increased in 6 countries.  We find that cross-national differences in economic growth help explain differing country trajectories in lived poverty.

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BP67: Neither consolidating nor fully democratic: The evolution of African political regimes, 1999-2008

Almost 20 years have passed since the Berlin Wall came down, an event that was followed in sub-Saharan Africa by pressures for political liberalization and by transitions to multiparty rule.  The time is ripe, therefore, to assess the current state of political development in these countries and to track changes in public attitudes that have occurred over the past decade (1999-2008).  The central question concerns the fate of democracy, especially as seen by Africans themselves.   Do they say they want democracy, a preference that we call the popular demand for democracy?

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BP64: Madagascans and democracy: Principles, practice and participation

Madagascans are clearly very keen to preserve key civil liberties: freedom of expression, the right to organize and freedom of the press. These attitudes, which were already apparent in the 2005 survey, appear to be even more strongly felt in 2008. The vast majority of Madagascans are also deeply attached to the general principles of democratic governance (against one-party rule, presidential dictatorship or ‘one-man rule’ and military rule).

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BP61: Demanding democratic rule: Batswana support democracy and reject non-democratic rule

This briefing focuses on the commitment of Batswana to democracy and elections as a system of government. We find that despite some reasons for concern, such as the lengthy dominance of politics by a single party, and the entry of former military leaders into electoral politics, that Batswana remain strongly and resolutely committed to democracy, and to elections as the preferred means for choosing their leader. They resoundingly reject non-democratic forms of rule, including military rule, one-man rule, and a one-party state.

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BP51: Popular attitudes to democracy in Ghana

Ghana embarked on a transition to democratic rule in the early 1990s after eleven years of quasi-military dictatorship under Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings and the Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).  Since then, Ghana has experienced four regularly scheduled multi-party elections (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004).  The third election produced the country’s first experience with an electoral turnover.  For the first time, power was transferred through the ballot box. Ghana is now headed for its fifth multi-party elections (in December 2008).

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BP40: The status of democracy, 2005-2006: Findings from Afrobarometer Round 3 for 18 countries

Indicators of popular demand for democracy and mass perceptions of the supply of democracy constitute signature items for the Afrobarometer.  We have reported elsewhere trends in these aspects of public opinion for 12 countries across three rounds of surveys, 1999-2006. (see “Where is Africa Going? Views from Below,” Afrobarometer Working Paper No. 60, Sections 2.2 to 2.4).  This Briefing Paper is intended to supplement these findings by providing more detailed results for the same set of questions (plus two new questions) across all 18 countries that now participate in the project.

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BP38: Local government and democracy in Lesotho

This briefing, describes changes in democratic attitudes in Lesotho and is based on a survey of 1,161 Basotho who are 18 years of age or older, administered between 6 July 2005 and 17 August 2005.  The survey was conducted in 145 villages, in census enumeration areas selected by a random process proportional to population, with the help of Lesotho’s Bureau of Statistics. Every district was represented in proportion to its population.  A precise method was developed for finding random households within each village.

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BP37: Changing attitudes toward democracy in Lesotho

The Afrobarometer, conducted three surveys of political attitudes and values in Lesotho in the years 2000, 2003 and 2005. The Afrobarometer survey was also carried out one or more times in Benin, Botswana, Cape Verde, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  This briefing, describing changes in democratic attitudes in Lesotho, is based on a survey of 1,161 Basotho who are 18 years of age or older, administered between 6 July 2005 and 17 August 2005.  

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BP27: Support for democracy and democratic institutions in Zimbabwe

Zimbabweans exhibit solid support for democracy but never seem to get enough of it. This is according to survey results from Afrobarometer Round 3.

A perennial set of questions in the Afrobarometer series relates to democracy, the demand for it, its supply, and support for democratic institutions. Round 3 of the survey repeated this set of issues and, given the existence now of three observations over time (1999, 2004 and 2005), trends and patterns are beginning to emerge. 

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BP25: Kenyans and democracy: Sustained support for the principle, but waning satisfaction with the practice

Three years ago, Kenya held it’s third multiparty election since 1992.  To the delight of many, it finally led to a long awaited political transition, bringing an end to the long reign of Daniel Arap Moi and the even longer rule of his KANU political party.  In a first Afrobarometer survey in Kenya, conducted in August-September 2003, just eight months after the new government of Mwai Kibaki and the NARC Rainbow Coalition took office, we found widespread euphoria and high hopes for the country’s future.

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BP18: Sustained support for democracy in Ghana

Nearly 13 years ago, Ghana embarked on a peaceful transition to democratic governance. Popular enthusiasm and participation in highly competitive multiparty elections have since sustained that process. The third democratic elections in 2000 produced an alternation in office, with Mr. John Agyekum Kufuor of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) capturing the presidency from the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and his party winning a parliamentary majority. The NPP electoral victory was repeated in December 2004 with the party increasing its parliamentary majority as well.

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BP9: Democracy and electoral alternation: Evolving African attitudes

Almost 15 years have passed since waves of democratization began to crash on African shores. Transitions to multiparty rule were often greeted with mass public celebration.  But how long does any such political enthusiasm last?   Are Africans’ expressed commitments to democracy  enduring or ephemeral?

This paper argues that democratic commitments are not fixed. They tend to decline with the passage of time.  But, more reassuringly, democratic commitments can be refreshed by an electoral alternation of power.

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BP7: Freedom of speech, media exposure, and the defense of a free press in Africa

Africans value freedom of speech.  In Afrobarometer surveys in a dozen African countries, people say that democracy requires that citizens are able to criticize the performance of governments.  It seems reasonable to suppose that the liberty of individuals to express themselves evolves together with the emergence of a free press.   This connection raises important questions.  Does exposure to a plural mass media – or to other, informal modes of communication – promote popular democratic values?  What happens to such values when governments control the media of mass communications?

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BP4: Poverty, poverty measurement, and democracy in Southern Africa

How does poverty shape the prospects for consolidating democratic government?

Political analysts have long believed that sustaining democratic government in a poor society is harder than in a relatively wealthy one.   This is a sobering thought for all those committed to democracy in Africa.  

To explore the political dynamics of poverty, we use data from seven 1999-2000 Afrobarometer surveys in Southern Africa to develop an index of poverty and then test its impact on political attitudes and behaviours critical to democracy. 

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WP151: South Africa’s emerging black middle class: A harbinger of political change?

South Africa has seen a significant increase in the size of its black middle class in the post-apartheid period, but the attitudinal consequences of indicators of the middle class, as of 2011, are inconsistent and modest in size. While members of the middle class are no more likely to hold democratic values than other black South Africans, they are more likely to want government to secure higher-order, rather than basic, survival needs.

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WP150: Does the African middle class defend democracy?

Barrington Moore’s famous line “no bourgeoisie, no democracy” is one of the most quoted claims in political science. But has the rise of the African middle class promoted democratic consolidation? This paper uses the case of Kenya to investigate the attitudes and behaviours of the middle class. Analysis of Afrobarometer survey data reveals that the middle class is more likely to support the opposition and hold pro-democratic attitudes.

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WP131: The “Born Frees”: The prospects for generational change in post-apartheid South Africa

In 1994, the combined prospects of rapid demographic change and a radically changed political system held out the promise of rapid movement toward a transformed citizenry, based primarily on an emerging post-apartheid generation imbued with the values of the new South African citizen. But as far as popular demand for democracy goes, the post-apartheid generation is less committed to democracy than their parents or grandparents.

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