President Ian Khama is the most popular leader among his people in the whole of Southern Africa, according to the results of sub Saharan African countries Gallup surveyed in 2011 which were released Thursday this week.
The results, published earlier this month, further revealed Khama, who received an 81 percent approval rating, ranks as the sixth most popular president in Africa behind Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, Yayi Boni of Benin, Amardou Toumani Toure of Mali, Francois Bozize of Central African Republic and Mahamadou Issoufou on Niger. Khama was rated at par with Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan.
Khama is rated even better than his government, which scored an approval rating of 71 percent. Interestingly, Khama’s administration is ranked fourth in the whole of Africa behind Niger, Burundi and Central African Republic.
The second most popular leader in Southern Africa after Khama is Mozambique’s Armando Guebuza with a 68 percent approval rating and at 14th position in the whole of Africa. Jacob Zuma of South Africa is ranked 24th in the whole of Africa with an approval rating of 57 percent.
Angola’s Jose Erduado Dos Santos is the least popular leader in Africa with an approval rating of 16 percent, well behind Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who has a 36 percent approval rating. As points of comparison, Khama earned higher approval from his people in 2011 than U.S. President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron did from theirs.
“The findings suggest that while local economic conditions do matter, other factors may be more significant drivers of leaders’ ratings, although a deteriorating economic environment can worsen residents’ assessments of their political leader’s performance. Governance issues, such as the honesty of elections and the judicial system, seem to matter much more in the eyes of most Africans. Other factors, such as political apathy, may play a role as many may not be interested in political affairs and tacitly approve of their leader’s performance,” states the Gallup report.
The recent change of the guard in Senegal — where the former president’s approval stood at 30 percent — and the deposition of Mali’s president a few weeks before the end of his second term sends a mixed message about political alternation in the region. In some countries, Africans’ voices come through loud and clear at the ballot box. In others, heeding the will of the people is still a work in progress.
The report further states that results are based on face-to-face interviews with 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted in 2011 in Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
“For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranged from ┬▒3.3 percentage points to ┬▒4.3 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls,” states the report.