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Key findings
  • Nearly eight in 10 Mozambicans (78%) say they are “somewhat well” “or “very well” informed about the COVD-19 pandemic.
  • Almost one-fourth (23%) of citizens say someone in their household lost a primary source of income because of the pandemic. Loss of an income source was about twice as common in cities (33%) as in rural areas (17%).
  • Six in 10 Mozambicans (60%) say they support the government’s decision to close schools to limit the spread of COVID-19. But 82% say the schools should have reopened sooner.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of Mozambicans say their household needed government assistance to deal with the pandemic, but only 7% say they received such assistance.
  • A majority (56%) of citizens say the government has performed “fairly well” or “very well” in managing the pandemic.
  • Fewer than half (45%) say they trust the government “somewhat” or “a lot” to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
  • A majority of Mozambicans say that when the country faces a health emergency like COVID-19, the government is justified in using the police or armed forces to enforce public health measures (67%) and in postponing elections or limiting political campaigns (56%).
  • Seven in 10 citizens (71%) say they are worried about politicians using the pandemic as an opportunity to increase their power.
  • Looking ahead, about six in 10 (62%) say the government should invest more resources in preparing for future health emergencies.

As of early December 2021, Mozambique has recorded 152,120 COVID-19 infections and 1,941 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began (Africa Centers for Disease Control, 2021).

The government declared a state of emergency from March to September 2020 and mandated a temporary lockdown. Some restrictions on movement and gatherings continue under a state of public calamity (U.S. Embassy Mozambique, 2021).

The government also promised measures to support businesses and vulnerable families, but critics say funds have not benefited small and medium-size enterprises or poor households (Centro para Democracia e Desenvolvimento Mozambique, 2020).

Mozambique has administered about 10.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, or enough to fully vaccinate about 18% of the country’s population (Reuters, 2021; World Health Organization, 2021).

A new Afrobarometer survey in Mozambique shows that most citizens are aware of COVID- 19, and a majority approve of the government’s overall response to the pandemic. But majorities also say that government assistance was distributed unfairly, that some officials steal resources intended for pandemic relief, that official COVID-19 statistics are unreliable, and that they don’t trust the government to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Even so, a majority of Mozambicans say they are likely to try to get vaccinated.

Citizens indicate a willingness to accept certain restrictions on their freedoms during a health emergency, including the use of the police and armed forces to ensure compliance with public health mandates and the postponement of elections.

Sibusiso Nkomo

Sibusiso is Programme Manager, Africa Office at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership