Former South African president Jacob Zuma’s imprisonment for boycotting an inquiry into high-level corruption has triggered protests and looting on a scale not seen since the apartheid era. The army is in the streets, and more than 200 people are dead.
Zuma was forced to resign the presidency in disgrace in 2018 when he lost the backing of his party, the long-dominant African National Congress (ANC), amid widespread allegations of corruption and abuse of power. The last Afrobarometer public opinion survey conducted during his tenure revealed growing popular disaffection with his rule — his approval rating dropped sharply, to 34 percent, as more and more South Africans perceived that levels of corruption were on the rise.… Seguir leyendo »
Although access to information laws offer at least some protection for people’s right to information in about half of African countries, the pandemic has highlighted how weak these protections still are in practice.
In addition to limiting access to information, governments have harassed and arrested activists and journalists for releasing statistics or other information on covid-19 in Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria and elsewhere on the continent.
Many African countries — including leading democracies such as Botswana and Namibia — still lack laws protecting access to information. And where laws do exist, they vary widely in quality, implementation and enforcement.
Do citizens believe in their right to information?… Seguir leyendo »
In one of Africa’s most democratic countries, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa recently used his weekly newsletter to praise unelected traditional leaders, who “support and drive development in their communities” and help address critical issues facing the country, including economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The role traditional leaders would play in modern Africa has not always been clear. As the democratic openings of the early 1990s replaced autocratic rulers with elected governments across much of Africa, “modernists” argued there was no longer a place for traditional leaders. Amid concern that chiefs — almost always male and unelected — would undermine democracy and perpetuate discrimination, especially against women and youths, opponents either expected the institution to wither away or openly called for it to be restricted or abolished.… Seguir leyendo »
In this year of covid-19, the ability of societies to work collectively to respond to the pandemic has taken center stage. In fact, popular compliance with public health measures may be one reason for Africa’s relatively low coronavirus infection and death rates.
Analysts study social bonds precisely because they believe that cohesive societies — marked by strong positive relationships across social groups, and between social groups and the government — will be more capable of solving shared problems and promoting well-being and development.
How strong or weak are social bonds in Africa? Scholars have long studied ethnic division on the continent and its implications for political and military conflict.… Seguir leyendo »
While the coronavirus’s toll in Africa has been less severe than many analysts initially feared (South Africa being the major exception), the Gates Foundation and others have warned that the pandemic may wipe out years of progress in fighting poverty and improving health around the world.
These setbacks are likely to increase pressures on African governments. Even before the pandemic, citizens were already demanding urgent action on jobs and health, and growing increasingly critical of their countries’ overall direction, Afrobarometer public attitude surveys show.
The new biweekly Friday Afrobarometer series, starting today in the Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, will explore these and other critical current topics, helping to explain Africans’ democratic aspirations and economic ambitions that will mark policy engagement with Africa well beyond the coronavirus pandemic.… Seguir leyendo »
In Mali, after weeks of large-scale demonstrations demanding that President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta resign, the military settled the matter. Amid international condemnation of last week’s coup deposing Keïta, thousands of Malians celebrated in the streets.
With a military junta running the country, are Malians ready to give up on democracy? Here’s what Malians themselves have to say, based on a recent Afrobarometer survey.
The March-April 2020 survey revealed textbook conditions for a popular uprising as well as strong popular trust in the military — factors that may explain why many Malians seem to welcome, or at least accept, a coup as the country’s best chance to escape a downward spiral of corruption, poor services and economic failure.… Seguir leyendo »
The coronavirus pandemic is challenging governments in Africa, just as it is around the globe. Many Africans already assess their public officials skeptically, wary of corruption, coercion and inadequate care for ordinary people’s physical, social and economic welfare, as our research on citizens’ experiences and evaluations shows. How African governments respond to this crisis — whether with compassion and respect or corruption and coercion — will influence their citizens’ trust in government for years to come.
The rule of law vs. reality
In general, Africans see their governments as legitimate. In Afrobarometer Round 7, which collected data from more than 45,800 respondents across 34 African countries between late 2016 and late 2018, more than three-quarters (78 percent) of respondents said that people must always obey the law, including majorities in all 34 countries.… Seguir leyendo »
Today is International Women’s Day, an occasion to celebrate progress toward gender equity and assess the road still ahead. According to the United Nations, equal access to the Internet and other information and communications technologies is a key gender equality goal. That’s because it offers women an avenue through which they can claim rights and act on social, economic and political opportunities — whether starting businesses, getting education, finding jobs, obtaining health care, finding banking and other financial services, or joining in a wide variety of activities.
Digital gender divide
But in Africa, there’s an online gender gap — and it may actually be widening.… Seguir leyendo »