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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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BP65: Public attitudes towards economic conditions and government performance: First results of Afrobarometer 2008 surveys in Madagascar

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.

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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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BP63: Governance in Madagascar: Scope and limits of the fight against corruption and decentralization

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.

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BP58: Popular perceptions of Shari'a law in Nigeria

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.

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BP53: Public opinion and local government in Nigeria

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.

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BP52: Popular opinions on local government in Ghana

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.

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BP49: How Ghanaians rate the performance of the NPP administration

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).

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BP45: The public agenda: Change and stability in South Africans’ ratings of national priorities

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.

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BP44: South Africans' rating of government performance

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.

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BP39: Instruments de mesure, d'analyse et de suivi de la gouvernance

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.

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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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BP36: Despite economic growth, Tanzanians still dissatisfied

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.  

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BP35: Term limits, the presidency, and the electoral system: What do Nigerians want?

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.

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BP31: Responsiveness and accountability in Malawi

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.

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BP30: Kenyans and the economy: Disillusionment despite improved performance

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.

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BP29: People’s development agenda and Government’s policy performance in Zimbabwe

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?

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