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Botswana’s government performance is in decline and Batswana trust their institutions much less in 2014

Whilst the president and traditional leaders are the most trusted figures in Botswana’s institutions, other bodies are trusted much less, for example Parliament, the ruling party and opposition parties, according to a new Afrobarometer study.

At the same time government performance is said to have declined in 2014 compared to previous years when Afrobarometer conducted surveys in Botswana.

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Batswana decry self-interest of politicians but continue to support the ruling party

If elections were held in June or July 2014, the majority of Batswana would have voted for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) would consolidate its position as the strongest opposition party. The coalition of opposition parties, the Umbrella for
Democratic Change (UDC) would have won 13%. The coalition consists of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (which broke away from the ruling party), the Botswana National Front and the Botswana People's Party.

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Batswana report that the country is going in the right direction despite economic hardships

Despite more than half (58%) of Batswana’s positive views in 2014 on the economic direction of their country, a fifth (21%) are pessimistic of the future, anticipating worsening national economic conditions in the next 12 months, according to the latest Afrobarometer study.

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Batswana want president, officials to account and declare assets amid perceived escalating corruption

Batswana express support for a law on declaration of assets and want the president and officials to appear before Parliament to account, according to the findings of the latest Afrobarometer survey. The survey, conducted in June 2014, also reveals that just over half of Batswana say that the level of corruption has increased over the past year.

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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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BP136: Political accountability in Ghana: Evidence from Afrobarometer Round 5 survey

This briefing paper intends to shed light on Ghanaian attitudes toward political accountability and assess the ordinary citizens’ role in this crucial part of the democratic process. In doing so, the paper draws from evidence from Round 5 of the Afrobarometer survey regarding five key aspects of political accountability - associational activity and local political participation; citizen engagement with the state; access to information; accountability and responsibility; and perceptions of corruption.

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BP134: Interrogating citizens’ economic well-being, government economic performance and social service delivery in Sierra Leone

This briefing paper assesses citizens’ perceptions of their economic well-being, government’s economic performance and public and social services delivery using the first Afrobarometer survey data collected in Sierra Leonean in 2012.

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BP133: Tanzanian citizens assess the performance of Parliament and consider its responsibility for legislation and oversight

This briefing paper examines the way Tanzanians perceive the National Assembly and its functioning in the post-multiparty election era (i.e., since 1995). Prior to 1995, it can be argued that the elections had some democratic trappings; however, in a true democracy the political process is inclusive of opposition contestation and allows for the full participation of all citizens regardless of ideology, political affiliation, ethnicity/tribe, religion or any other criteria that maybe used to disenfranchise any group or segment of society.

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BP130: Chieftainship (Bogosi) endures despite democratic consolidation in Botswana

This briefing paper focuses on Batswana’s support for democracy, and the extent to which such support could be attributed to strengthening of democracy in Botswana. It also focuses on the constitution as a symbol of republicanism and foundation of democratic rule. In particular, the following explores the relationship between the support for democracy, institutionalized democratic institutions and existence of the bogosi (chieftainship) as a social and political institution.

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BP126: Are Malawian adults turning pink? Exploring public opinion on women’s political leadership

This briefing paper explores the opinions of Malawi an adults on women’s political leadership ability. Existing literature contends that people hold opinions in the form of “stereotypes” that have potentially negative implications for women candidates, especially when they are running for national office (Huddy and Terkildesen 1993, Braden 1996, Kahn 1996, Feehan 2006, Chilobwe 2011). Stereotypes reflect perceived rather than real traits of an individual (Huddy and Terkildesen 1993).

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BP125: Examining the relevance of political parties in Malawi

This briefing paper examines the relevance of political parties in Malawi’s democracy. Beyond the functionalist assumption that existence suggests some positive contribution of an organ to the whole, this paper looks at social operational pre-requisites that justify the relevance and existence of political parties. Specifically the paper focuses on the linkage role of political parties.

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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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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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BP114: The popular quest for devolution in Zimbabwe

Since the installation of the Parliamentary Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) in 2009, the word ‘devolution’ has been one of the buzz words in the country. It is a contentious, emotive and divisive issue with strong regional overtones. It is also a frequently misunderstood and sometimes deliberately distorted term. Technically, devolution is a transfer or delegation of power by an upper level of government (often central level) to lower units of governance, e.g., provincial and local governments.

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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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BP104: Public attitudes toward the president of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma

In May 2012, a display of art entitled “Hail to the Thief II” caused a national controversy because of a single element hung on a separate wall. This was a pastiche of a well-known image of Lenin with the face of the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma. The piece was entitled “Spear of the Nation”. Are there ways to understand this apparent gap between the image of the President in the media and apparently amongst political, business and civic elites, and that revealed by public opinion by looking at the Afrobarometer results alone?

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BP100: Public perceptions on constitutional reform in Zimbabwe

Ideally, a country’s constitution is that society’s contract with its citizens and should be an expression of the aspirations and values of the people. Zimbabwe’s constitution has a chequered history. It was crafted in London in 1979 as an elite ceasefire pact among warring parties and has been amended no less than 19 times in 30 years. Few have regarded this document as a national supreme law and many have agitated for its replacement.

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BP97: Zimbabwe: The evolving public mood

At the end of 2010, Zimbabwean citizens remained broadly supportive of power sharing as an antidote to political crisis.  But they were increasingly critical of the halting performance of their country’s coalition government.  Most people also perceived declining civil liberties and feared resurgent political violence.  Yet clear majorities called for constitutional reforms to limit the powers of the presidency and seemingly even for free elections in 2011 to return the country to legitimate rule.  

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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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BP91: Kenyans and the coalition Government: Disappointment in spite of relative peace

Kenya held its fourth multi-party elections in 2007. It turned out to be Kenya’s most closely contested election, but also the most poorly managed, since the return to multipartyism in 1992. Although the Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK) declared the incumbent and Party of National Unity (PNU) candidate Mwai Kibaki the winner, this was immediately disputed by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), which averred that their presidential candidate, Raila Odinga, was the winner.

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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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BP89: Local government in Kenya: Negative citizen perception and minimal engagement in local government affairs

Local governance has been glorified as a panacea for development, with a number of authors highlighting its positive attributes in development. It is embedded in the decentralization debates, policies and programmes which have been sweeping across the African continent. Conceptually, there is a belief that decentralization will improve not only the relationship between citizens and the state in Africa, but also the mobilization and distribution of wealth and ultimately, the quality of democracy (Mitullah 2004 ).

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BP86: Observance of the rule of law in Mozambique

This Briefing Paper analyses the extent to which ordinary Mozambicans feel the rule of law actually exists in their country.  It employs 2005 and 2008 data from the Mozambique Afrobarometer public opinion survey to understand people’s perceptions of the extent to which ordinary people are treated equally by the state, whether the state enforces the law equally against both state officials and ordinary people, and the extent to which the president ignores the constitution.

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BP85: The public mood on Zimbabwe’s inclusive government

After protracted political negotiations to resolve Zimbabwe’s chronic political impasse, which were facilitated by former South African President Thabo Mbeki under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), a tripartite agreement was signed by incumbent President Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), Morgan Tsvangirai of the main Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and Arthur Mutambara of the splinter MDC-M formation.

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BP83: Zimbabwe: People's development agenda in 2009

For many Zimbabweans, life in the last few years has been nasty, brutish and sometimes short, but there is now a flicker of light at the end of a dark and long tunnel. Things started really falling apart in 2008 with the unprecedented cholera outbreak that claimed more than 4 000 lives and infected over 100 000 others. Zimbabwe stood at the edge of a precipice with health centres and schools closed, shops displaying empty shelves, acute shortages of food and other basic essentials, and rampant politically-motivated violence and human rights violations.

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BP74: Spot the difference: A comparison of presidents and governments' Performance Since 1999 in Malawi

If one picks up an annual economic and social report on Malawi, it will indicate how the government has performed on various fronts, including sectoral growth, overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth, inflation, exchange and interest rate movements, provision of health and education services, social security, and improved water supply, among others.  Such reports are generally derived from data that has been professionally collected from administrative records.

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