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Country analysis > Mozambique Last update: 2020-11-27  

Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR)

Commitment to democracy in Mozambique:
Performance evaluations and cognition

Carlos Shenga

Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR), University of Cape Town

October 2007

Posted with permission of the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town:
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This study explores the nature of Mozambicans’ commitment to democracy by testing and examining cognitive and performance evaluation factors, using Round 2 of the Afrobarometer survey. It finds that Mozambicans are less committed to democracy than many other Africans but their levels of procedural understanding of democracy are higher. My main findings are as follows: First, levels of information are the main source of popular commitment to democracy. Second, both evaluations of economic and political performance matter for Mozambicans’ commitment to democracy. Third, the effects of political performance matter more than economics. Fourth, people who have high levels of information (from news media use and formal education), discuss politics with friends or neighbors and obtain their information from relatively more independent sources (such as participation in collective action and contacting religious leaders) are more likely to be committed democrats. Fifth, procedural understandings of democracy are positively relevant for individual commitment to democracy.


This paper is a condensed version of my Master thesis in Political Studies at the University of Cape Town. It deals with popular commitment to democracy in Mozambique and its likely sources using public opinion survey data. The paper is organized as follows. First, it provides the relevance for studying commitment to democracy in Mozambique, the hypotheses and arguments, the importance of commitment to democracy, its potential explanatory factors and the study’s research design. Second, it describes the patterns of understandings of and commitment to democracy comparing Mozambicans with other Africans. Third, it tests and examines the effects of levels and sources of information and cognitive engagement on understandings of and commitment to democracy. Fourth, it probes the impacts of economic and political performance evaluations considering the effects of cognitive factors, including levels and sources of information, cognitive engagement, as well as understandings of democracy. Finally, it summarizes the study findings and raises its theoretical and political implications, discuss the findings and also offers some strategy (of social change) to support the process of democratization in Mozambique.

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