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Do Electoral Systems Affect How Citizens Hold their Government Accountable? Evidence from Africa

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try to hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but litt…

Public Attitudes toward Zimbabwe's 2018 Elections: Downbeat yet Hopeful?

Zimbabweans will go to the polls in presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections on July 30, 2018. These elections are the first test of the popular will since the dramatic military intervention of November 2017 that forced an end t…

Citizen Engagement in Botswana: Beyond Voting, How much Interest in Participation

While Botswana is widely recognized for its unbroken series of successful elections stretching back to independence in 1966, analysts have long pointed to low levels of political participation and a weak civil society as barriers on its path towar…

Women's Political Participation in Puntland - Prospects for Progress

The study aimed at assessing and documenting women’s political participation in Puntland, focusing on the recent political processes while drawing lessons from historical trends and broader societal issues surrounding women’s political participation…

Is there an Anti-politics of Electricity? Access to the Grid and Reduced Political Participation in Africa

Electricity is often argued to be a catalyst for a country’s industrialization and the social development of its citizens, but little is known about the political consequences of providing electric power to people. Contributing to literatures on t…

Backlash Against Democracy: The Regulation of Civil Society in Africa

"Among the many forces which contributed to the political liberalization of African nations, civil society formations played a pivotal role in dismantling authoritarian one-party rule and opening public space for wider political participation. Howe…

State and Non-State Actors in South African Public Policy

"This policy brief provides a critical analysis of the role players in South African public policy. The brief argues that the institutional and legal framework of South Africa provides for a democratic and inclusive approach to public policy formula…

Lessons from Electoral Management and Processes in West Africa

"This paper summarises the observations and findings of a comparative study of the contribution of electoral commissions (ECs) to the strengthening of democracy in West Africa, carried out in 2009–2010. The study was conducted in six countries, …

Are South Africa's Youth Really a 'Ticking Time Bomb'?

"This paper reviews longitudinal survey data on South Africa’s political culture produced by the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (1994-1998) and Afrobarometer (2000-2011) and finds that while there are real problems with democratic citizen…

Basotho's less Supportive of Women's Political Leadership, Opposed to Traditional Chieftain Role

Basotho women still find it hard to attain leadership positions due to discriminatory cultural practices and laws. Support for women’s political leadership declined from 2012 to 2014, and even though two thirds of women say that women should have …

Are Malawian Adults Turning Pink? Exploring Public Opinion on Women's Political Leadership

This briefing paper explores the opinions of Malawian adults on women’s political leadership ability. Literature shows that voters tend to correlate specific personality traits with each gender, and during elections they may employ these stereotype…

Tribal Feelings are Increasing in Intensity

"About half of Zambians (50%) have strong feelings of belonging to their ethnic group (tribe) while at the same time feeling a part of Zambia. A small but growing number of Zambians place their tribal identity above national identity."

In Malawi, Women Lag in Political Participation; Support for Women's Leadership Declines

"Despite having been led by southern Africa’s first female president, Malawi has made little progress toward equal political participation by women, Afrobarometer’s most recent survey suggests. Women in Malawi remain less likely than men to engage i…

Gender in Namibia: Growing Support for Women's Leadership, Concerns About Violence

"Namibians express increasing levels of support for women in political leadership, but Namibian women continue to trail men slightly in their interest in public affairs and participation in civic action, according to the latest Afrobarometer survey.…

Deliberate Disengagement: How Education Decreases Political Participation in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes

"A large literature examining advanced and consolidating democracies suggests that education increases political participation. However, in electoral authoritarian regimes, educated voters may instead deliberately disengage. If education increases c…

Demand for Competitive Multiparty Politics is High in Zimbabwe

"Starting from five major political parties at independence, the history of multiparty politics in Zimbabwe is marked by a fragmented opposition that reached a peak in a power-sharing Government of National Unity (GNU) but has never broken the rulin…

Presidential Term Limits: A New African Foreign Policy Challenge

"A coup d’état in Burkina Faso in October 2014 thwarted attempts by West Africa’s former regional strongman Blaise Compaoré to extend his stay in power. A few months later, in May 2015, an attempted coup in Burundi sought to settle simmering tensio…

Political Freedoms and Interest has yet to Translate into Mandela's Vision of Participatory Democracy in Africa

"Democratic political systems rely on citizen participation, building wider channels of integration and richer networks of association, for their consolidation. Citizen participation can range from the bare minimum of voting to more active modes of …

International Youth Day: Despite Interest, African Youth not Connecting with Political Processes

"A majority of African youth are interested in public affairs and discuss politics with those around them, but relatively low levels of civic engagement and political participation suggest a disconnect between the continent’s “youth bulge” and democ…

Citizen Engagement in Zimbabwe at Lowest Level in a Decade

"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 …

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