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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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.
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.
In 2008, Madagascans tended to hold a somewhat mixed and increasingly dim view of the state of their national economy. 28% of Madagascans thought their economy was in a poor state and 24% viewed it as healthy – 11 percentage points lower than in 2005. The remaining 48% had no definite opinion, indicating a degree of perplexity concerning the general state of the economy. An even greater cause for concern is Madagascans’ distinctly negative view of their personal living standards.
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).
Madagascans view corruption as an endemic problem affecting the entire administrative and political life of their country. However, a number of indications point to improvements in this area since 2005. First of all, there are now fewer critics of the current situation than there were in 2005. Secondly, the real incidence of corruption (i.e. the number of individuals personally affected by corruption) has significantly declined. However, the proportion of undecided respondents has increased significantly, suggesting a degree of helplessness.
This brief addresses the state of the Parliament in Tanzania. In particular, we ask how Tanzanians themselves prioritize the various responsibilities of an MP. And we explore how well their MPs are doing at fulfilling these diverse roles.
In 1999 Zamfara became the first state to institute Shari’a law and soon afterwards eleven other northern states followed suit. The literature on Shari’a has been mixed in the assessment of its impact (Last 2000; Miles 2000, 2003; Marshall 2002, 2005; Harnischfeger 2004; Paden 2005, 2008; Loimeier 2007). Characterizations of Shari’a have ranged from it being labeled a form of militant religious extremism to a toothless legal system that is at best ineffectual and frequently discriminatory towards the poor and women.
Nigeria is a federation of thirty-six States and the Federal Capital Territory. The federation consists of 774 local government areas. Local governments are intended to serve as the lowest tier of governance that will be most responsive to the needs of the people. Local governments in Nigeria are also expected to enhance political participation at the grassroots. Due to these expectations, there is persistent agitation for the creation of local governments by different groups across the country.
Ghana embarked on a comprehensive program of local government decentralization in the late 1980s. The program launched by the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) represents the most comprehensive effort at decentralization in the country’s post-colonial era. Proposals launched in 1987 culminated in the introduction of the District Assemblies Law (PNDC Law 207) in 1988. Its provisions for the structure and functions of the District Assemblies (DAs) were subsequently incorporated into the 1992 Republican Constitution.
Four rounds of Afrobarometer surveys have been conducted in Ghana since 1999. Round 2 was conducted in 2002 when the administration of President John Kufuor and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) had barely settled in office; Round 3 was conducted in 2005 when the government had recently renewed its electoral mandate. The current Round 4 survey (March 2008) coincides with the year in which the Kufuor-NPP administration is ending its second term in office and heading for the polls (in December 2008).
Unemployment, housing, crime, poverty and HIV/AIDS are rated by South Africans as their top five priorities for government action.
This is one of the many important results revealed by the recent Afrobarometer survey of a representative sample of 2,400 South Africans, conducted in January and February 2006 by Citizen Surveys.
President Thabo Mbeki has reached new heights of public popularity with current job approval ratings matching the best ratings given to Nelson Mandela. These findings stand in stark contrast to the current crisis within the ANC and its alliance partners as manifested in sharp divisions over the treatment of former Deputy President Jacob Zuma, and the selection of the Party’s next candidate for President, as well as unprecedented attacks on Mbeki’s policies and leadership style by the South African Communist Party and the Congress of South African Trade Unions.
Dans Madagascar, l’importance de gouvernance est soulignée par l’ensemble de la population. D’après les dispositifs d’enquêtes, au total, 91% des Malgaches dénoncent la mauvaise gouvernance comme le premier facteur de sous-développement du pays. Le problème de gouvernance n’est pas perçu comme conjoncturel, récent ou passager, mais comme un fait structurel qui affecte le pays de longue date. En termes d’économie politique, les stratégies d’amélioration de la gouvernance, et notamment de réduction de la corruption, devraient donc pouvoir s’appuyer sur de larges coalitions populaires.
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.
Tanzanians are unhappy with the country’s economic conditions and their own living conditions, and they still experience high levels of lived poverty. Indeed, poverty at the individual level is a good part of the explanation for economic dissatisfaction. These are some of the key findings of the most recent Afrobarometer survey conducted in Tanzania between 21 July and 13 August, 2005.
The controversy over presidential term limits is at the center of public discussion in Nigeria. The most recent national opinion survey by the Afrobarometer finds strong support among the Nigerian public for term limits, free elections, competitive politics, and constitutional government. This survey shows widespread popular disapproval for an indefinite tenure of the chief Executive, and firm support for the present constitutional limit of two terms for elected officials.
Under the auspices of the Afrobarometer, IfESOR conducted a nation-wide survey of political opinions and attitudes in Malawi between 15th June and 3rd July 2005. A nationally representative sample of 1200 respondents drawn from all the districts in the countrywas interviewed. In this paper, we use Afrobarometer data to investigate the Malawians’ views on government responsiveness and accountability.
The National Alliance Rainbow Coalition (NARC) came to power in Kenya in early 2003 after an election in which it had promised, among other things, to end corruption, institute free primary education, democratize the constitution, and foster economic regeneration. Apart from introducing free primary education, the government’s other main achievement seems to be its contribution to boosting economic growth. According to official statistics, the Kenyan economy grew by about 4.3% in 2004, and is projected to have grown by 5.8% in 2005.
In mid-May 2005, the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) launched, with little advance warning, a massive ‘urban clean up’ campaign. The exercise was code-named “Operation Murambatsvina/ Restore Order” hereafter referred to as OM. Murambatsvina is a Shona word meaning literally: “one who refuses dirt.” Initially, there were two separate ‘operations’, one on “Murambatsvina” and the second on “restoring order” but the two imperceptibly fused in the process of implementation and the twin campaigns are now commonly referred to as one. What do Zimbabweans think about this crackdown?
Kenya’s NARC government rode to victory in the 2002 elections in part on the coalition’s promise to tackle the country’s deeply-rooted corruption problem. Prior to the transition, Kenya was perceived as a virtual international pariah due to extreme levels of corruption, leading the IMF to freeze its lending to Kenya in 1997. In 2002, Kenya ranked 96th out of 102 countries according to Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with a score of 1.9 out of 10.
The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana that came into effect in January 1993 provides the basic charter for the country's fourth attempt at republican democratic government since independence in 1957. It declares Ghana to be a unitary republic with sovereignty residing in the Ghanaian people. The constitution is the supreme law of the land and provides for the sharing of powers among a President, a Parliament, a Cabinet, a Council of State, and an independent judiciary.
Ghana began implementing neo-liberal economic reforms in the mid 1980s under the quasi-military Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) administration led by Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings. The two administrations of Ghana’s Fourth Republic - the democratically elected Rawlings-National Democratic Congress (NDC) and its successor, the John Kufuor-New Patriotic Party (NPP) – have continued to pursue the same broad program of market-oriented reforms.
Do men and women in Uganda think differntly about the political transition underway in their country?
At first glance, the Round 3 Afrobaromter survey of a random sample of 2400 adult Ugandans in April/May 2005 seems to reveal substantial gender gaps in public opinion on key political and constitutional questions. This brief paper reports the extent of, and trends in, these gaps. It also explores, in preliminary fashion, whether differences in opinion between men and women are due to gender or some other social characteristic, such as education.
Ugandans are divided on the major questions of political transition, according to a survey just released by the Afrobarometer and the International Republican Institute. While Ugandans overall are almost evenly split about the political direction for the country, urban dwellers and men tend to favor a multiparty system and presidential term limits. A majority of Ugandans are opposed to the creation of a regional tier of governments.
How has the standing of South Africa’s political parties changed, especially in response to recent turmoil within regional party systems?
A recent Afrobarometer survey conducted from September-October 2002 offers some insights. This survey reveals that despite the continued dominance of the African National Congress (ANC), support for all parties in South Africa has declined since 2000 in terms of respondents’ expressions of their voting intentions.
South Africans embarked on majoritarian, multiparty politics in 1994 facing a host of complex issues, including high expectations from the newly enfranchised black majority, and fears of what these changes would bring among many in the white minority. Almost a decade later, how have South African’s perceptions of their country’s problems evolved? To what extent have their expectations – or their fears – been realized, and how successfully is the current government coping with the issues that matter most in the eyes of the public?
The effects of pre-colonial history on contemporary African development have become an important field of study within development economics in recent years. In particular Gennaioli and Rainer (2007) suggest that pre-colonial political centralization has had a positive impact on contemporary levels of development within Africa at the country level. We test the Gennaioli and Rainer (2007) hypothesis at the sub-national level for the first time with evidence from Uganda. Using a variety of datasets we obtain results which are striking in two ways.
A key question confronting states that have recently transitioned from authoritarian rule is how to legitimate institutions of the state. No longer charged with serving the narrow interests of a strong and powerful minority, state institutions are often faced with the challenge of transforming in a way that allows them to garner the trust and willing obedience of the majority. The question of the sources of state legitimacy is particularly pertinent in emerging democracies where trust in institutions is often shallow and the authority of the state remains contested.
Why would politicians give up power over the allocation of critical resources to community leaders? This article examines why many African governments have ceded power over the allocation of land to non-elected traditional leaders. In contrast to the existing literature, which suggests traditional leaders’ power is a hang-over from the colonial period that has not been eliminated due to weak state capacity, I argue that African politicians often choose to devolve power to traditional leaders as a means of mobilizing electoral support from non-coethnics.