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Africans Call Democracy the Best form of Government

AFRICA – More than two-thirds of Africans see democracy as the best form of government for the continent, says an Afrobarometer study of 34 countries, including Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe and Mozambique.

The African think tanks entitled “Democracy in Africa: Demand, Supply and the Dissatisfied Democrat” found that, on average, 68% of Africans are “heavily committed to democracy”, 78% prefer multiparty elections to a regime dictatorial presidential, 74% reject a single party state and 72% a military regime.

However, the data vary considerably when analyzing each country, with a difference of 41 percentage points between countries with the highest and lowest levels of support for the democratic system.

Sierra Leone has the highest rates of support (84%) while Essuatíni (former Swaziland) closes the list with minors (43%).

Another 20 countries, including Cape Verde (70%), have levels of support for the above-average democratic regime, while the remaining 14, with Sao Tome de Príncipe (61%) and Mozambique (57%), are below.

Differences between countries are further accentuated by the rejection of a military regime (49 percentage points difference), with Zambia showing rejection levels of 92% and Burkina Faso with 43%.

Among the Portuguese speaking countries studied in this study, the rejection of a military regime with 82% is more expressive, above the 72% average for all 34 countries, followed by Cape Verde with 69% and Mozambique with 53%, both below the same average.

But the biggest difference between countries (52 percentage points) is when an indicator crosses support for democracy with the rejection of any form of authoritarian regime, with Zambia (67%) and Mauritania (66%) leading the list of the countries that prefer democracy and reject all forms of authoritarian rule, which drops to 23% in South Africa and 21% in Mozambique.

In Cape Verde, the level for this indicator is 42%, the same as the average of the 34 countries, with São Tomé and Príncipe registering 41%, immediately below average.

The study also notes changes in this indicator between 2014/2015 and 2016/2018, with 14 countries, including Cape Verde (from 57% to 42%) reporting significant reductions in the percentage of people who prefer democracy and reject any kind of regime authoritarian.

On the other hand, Mozambique has gone from 9% to 21% of the population that supports democracy and rejects any authoritarian regime.

The data also reveals the perception that the democratic supply is less than demand, that is, the populations have less democracy than they want.

About 51% consider that their country is a “full democracy” or “minor problems”, but only 43% are satisfied with its functioning.

It is men, aged between 46 and 55 years, from urban areas who habitually debate politics with friends and family who most complain and support a democratic regime.

Among those interviewed “who never lack food,” 44% show a Democrat trend, while this percentage drops to 30% among those who “always lack sustenance.”

Afrobarometer has periodically carried out this study with the same questions since 2000 to try to understand the population’s preference for political regimes.

The data published today are based on 45,000 interviews conducted in the 34 countries between 2016 and 2018.

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Rita Chandon

Rita – After graduating from NYU with a master degree in history,  She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Rita mostly covers business and community, but at times love to write about world topics as well

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