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Working paper

WP17: Challenges to democratic consolidation of democracy in Zambia: Public attitudes to democracy and the economy

Neo Simutanyi 3 Jan 2002 Zambia
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This report briefly summarizes the findings of a 1999 national opinion survey in Zambia that measured public attitudes toward democratic and economic reforms.  It finds that while Zambians are supportive of “democracy as a value,” their participation in “democracy as a system” is low.  They display very low attachment to political parties, and voter turnouts are also quite low.  Zambians are the least likely of all Southern Africans to feel that they can make things better through voting and elections.  But while Zambians are not overly enthusiastic about their present political system, there is little nostalgia for the former one-party regime.  They show the highest levels of opposition among all Southern Africans to such potential anti-democratic actions of government as shutting down critical news outlets or dismissing judges.  On balance, substantial proportions of Zambians see the multiparty government as more effective than the one-party regime and more responsive to public opinion, though it does not compare so favorably in terms of corruption and trustworthiness.

Neo Simutanyi

Neo Simutanyi is based at the Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Zambia.