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Afrobarometer: Africans Don't Trust MPs And Councillors

  • Gibbs Dube

Parliament of Zimbabwe

Parliament of Zimbabwe

Members of Parliament and local government councillors across Africa have earned little trust and largely negative performance ratings from their constituents, a new report from Afrobarometer shows.

“Complaining of increasing official corruption and impunity, most Africans say their political leaders are not interested in listening to their constituents’ views and are more concerned with advancing their own ambitions than with serving the people,” according to the report.

The findings released are part of a new report titled ‘Job performance of MPs, local councillors: Are representatives serving voters or themselves? by Afrobarometer, one of the world’s premier source of reliable data on public perceptions and attitudes across Africa.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Across 36 African countries, fewer than half of respondents say they trust their MPs (48%) and local councillors (46%) “somewhat” or “a lot.” Among 12 public institutions and leaders, MPs and local councillors rank eighth and ninth in public trust.
  • Large majorities say at least “some” of their MPs and local government councillors are corrupt, including one-third of citizens who see “most” or “all” of these elected representatives as corrupt. Across 18 countries tracked over the past decade, public perceptions of corruption have increased for both MPs (by 8 percentage points) and local government councillors (by 6 points).
  • A majority (59%) of citizens say that officials who commit crimes “often” or “always” go unpunished. In 18 countries tracked over the past decade, this perception has increased by 13 percentage points.
  • About three-fourths of Africans say their MPs and councillors “never” or “only sometimes” listen to what their constituents have to say.
  • More than two-thirds (69%) of Africans believe that political party leaders are more concerned with pursuing their own political ambitions than with representing the people’s interests.
  • Fewer than half of Africans approve of the job performance of their MPs (45%) and local government councillors (49%). Disapproval is especially high among citizens who see their leaders as driven by personal ambition rather than public service, as corrupt, or as uninterested in what their constituents have to say.

This is the 13th of Afrobarometer’s global releases of new findings from its Round six surveys (2014/2015) of almost 54,000 citizens in 36 African countries.

The first 12 focused on citizens’ top policy and investment priorities, infrastructure development, lived poverty, tolerance, electricity, water/sanitation, health, the news media, regional integration, political and civic engagement of African youth, trustworthy institutions, and election management.

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