With the approach of another electoral cycle in Mozambique, a study by pan-African research network, Afrobarometer, has found that fewer and fewer Mozambicans see the elections as free and fair, “and only one in three believes that the votes are ‘always fairly counted’ (32 percent) and that opposition parties are ‘never’ prevented from running (33 percent)”.
The 5th Municipal Elections, scheduled for October 10, 2018, promise to be the most disputed in the memory of the young Mozambican democracy. In addition to the Frelimo and MDM parties, which govern various municipalities, the participation of Renamo is almost certain. Yet a survey recently published by Afrobarometer paints “a problematic picture, suggesting an alarming decline in popular confidence in elections and democracy”.
“An ever-decreasing number of Mozambicans are confident that their national elections are free and fair. While confidence increased dramatically between 2005 and 2008, the proportion of citizens who say their most recent national election was “completely free and fair” or “free and fair, but with small problems” has steadily declined over the last decade, from 68 percent in 2008 to 52 percent in 2015,” the survey, conducted between June and August 2015, reveals.
The study also found that “fewer Mozambicans report that they feel free to vote for the candidate of their choice. Although a majority (57 percent) still feel ‘completely free’ and 12 percent feels ‘somewhat free’, the proportion of respondents who feel ‘not at all’ or ‘not very free’ increased from 15 percent in 2012 to 24 percent in 2015”.
Mozambican citizens also negatively assess the quality of the elections. “Only one in three (32 percent) say that votes are ‘always’ counted fairly. Almost half (48 percent) say that the media ‘never’ or only ‘sometimes’ provides fair coverage of all candidates, and only 33 percent say that opposition parties are ‘never’ prevented from running. One in four respondents say that voters are ‘often’ or ‘always’ bribed (25 percent) and are often or always threatened during the elections (25 percent).”
The survey interviewed 2,400 Mozambicans and has a margin error rate of +/- 2 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent. Afrobarometer carried out similar surveys in Mozambique in 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2012.
“Popular support for democracy and satisfaction with its implementation have dropped alarmingly”
“Critical assessments of election quality are also reflected in declining public trust in Mozambique’s Electoral Commission, which is tasked with organizing and conducting elections. After a sharp increase in trust between 2002 and 2005, the proportion of citizens who say they trust the commission ‘somewhat’ or ‘a lot’ has continued a decade-long slide from 72 percent in 2005 to 48 percent in 2015. Meanwhile, the proportion expressing ‘just a little’ or no trust at all has doubled from 17 to 38 percent.”
Afrobarometer’s most recent research found that “although two-thirds (65 percent) of Mozambicans consider it ‘important’ to obey the ruling government, regardless of their own vote”, a growing number disagree. The proportion of respondents who say “it is not necessary to obey the laws of a government in which they did not vote” has doubled since 2008, from 12 percent to 27 percent”.
Afrobarometer concludes there is “a problematic deterioration in the public perception of elections and democracy in Mozambique”.
“Increasing numbers of citizens see their elections as less than free and fair and doubt that elections ensure that voters’ views are represented. Popular support for democracy and satisfaction with its implementation has dropped alarmingly. Still, most see voting as a good citizen’s duty – perhaps an indication that despite high current levels of dissatisfaction, Mozambicans have not given up on democracy,” the survey concludes.
Read the full report here;
Source: A Verdade
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