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Title:Democracy, poverty and civil society in Mozambique
Author:Virtanen, Pekka
Periodical:Africa Review: Journal of African Studies Association of India (ISSN 0974-4061)
Geographic term:Mozambique
civil society
Abstract:National elections were held in Mozambique for the fifth time in October 2014. As a state, Mozambique - like many 'fourth-wave' transition countries - fulfils the formal criteria of democracy. But to what extent are the mechanisms of accountability implemented? In Africa, two issues have been identified as key impediments for successful democratic transition: failure to improve the welfare of the poor and the 'pre-modern' character of civil society. In Mozambique, robust economic growth has been accompanied by growing inequality, while traditional civil society organisations (CSOs) have become increasingly visible on local level since the political transition in 1994. Based on the analysis of Afrobarometer data in comparative context, the study examines whether the poor are less supportive of liberal democracy than other citizens, as well as the role of traditional vs. modern CSOs in strengthening vertical accountability. The results show that the main threat to democracy does not come from the poor, who feel healthy scepticism towards the way the regime implements democracy while being supportive of democratic values. Neither are traditional CSOs incompatible with democratic values. The problems are caused by the way key provisions in the democratic constitution are translated to practice - or undermined - by the political elite. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]