- About seven of 10 Zimbabwean adults say citizens have an obligation to vote in elections (74%) and to participate in national and community affairs between elections (69%).
- But most Zimbabweans do not interact with their elected leaders; large majorities say they did not contact local government councillors (67%) or MPs (86%) in the year preceding the survey. Civic engagement through contact with elected leaders is at its lowest level in a decade.
- Disengagement is also evident in low rates of contact with non-elected leaders such as officials of government agencies, political party officials, traditional leaders, and religious leaders.
- Most Zimbabweans say they are not members of voluntary associations or community groups (75%) and did not get together with others in the previous 12 months to raise an issue (63%).
- Urban residents are less engaged than their rural counterparts, and women are less engaged than men except when it comes to contact with religious leaders.
Seven of 10 Zimbabweans consider it the duty of every citizen not only to vote in elections but also to participate in national and community affairs between elections, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.
Yet most Zimbabweans never engage with their elected leaders to discuss important problems or share their views; on this indicator, citizen engagement is at its lowest level in a decade. Similarly, a majority do not contact non-elected leaders such as government officials and traditional and religious leaders. Few are active in voluntary or community organisations, and even fewer participate in individual or group action to raise an important issue or express dissatisfaction with the government. Urban residents are particularly disengaged, and women are generally less likely to engage than men.
One contributing factor to low levels of engagement may be the widespread public perception that members of Parliament (MPs) and local government councillors “never” or “only sometimes” try to listen to citizens.