Government policies perceived well
The most recent opinion polls by a policy researcher shows that government and the services it offers have received the public’s stamp of approval. This is according to the second release of the Afrobarometer 2012 survey. According to Bill Lindeke of the Institute of Public Policy and Research who facilitated the Namibian contribution to the poll, the government continues to receive high approval ratings from the general population. He stated that amongst Namibia’s major institutions, the survey showed that the general population supports the government’s endeavours.
The comparative survey, that covers over 35 countries within Africa, showed that Namibian political heads rank favourably in comparison to other countries. President Pohamba received the second highest trust evaluation amongst African presidents according to responses from the Round 5 (2011-2013) Afrobarometer survey. This came as no surprise with Namibia doing relatively well in this area since the inception of the survey (Round 1, Afrobarometer survey 1999).
From the sample of 1200 participants, spread evenly around Namibia’s 13 regions, approval rates were relatively high for various governing bodies such as the National Council. The particular approval rate was based on the participants trust of this institution. 75% of the public approved the efforts of the Namibian courts and Namibian Police. Trust levels of the National Assembly showed a slight decline to a 65% approval rate. “Certain institutions like the Ministry of Finance have very technical tasks. Issues such as the budget breakdown, will be centralized amongst towns and not in the rural communities. Therefore, a lack of understanding and engagement by rural communities could have led to the low trust levels (54%) in this area,” explained Lindeke.
Another area of interest was public policy, specifically those geared at alleviating some of the under performing/risk areas of the economy. 86% of the the respondents believe that substantial strides are being made in combating HIV/AIDS while 76% feel that education and health service are receiving the necessary attention. Policies drafted and implemented on reducing crime only received 58% approval from the public.
Lindeke stressed that the survey does not necessarily capture the performance of the said institutions as a policy or economic indicator but rather covered the opinions of the population based on what they have experienced. He also explained the negative feedback concerning key economic areas such as level of wealth disparity, inflationary levels and standard of living. “Trend over the past 10 years has shown that inflationary levels are actually quite low and have been maintained in a range between 5% and 6% as opposed to double digit figures. Despite this, the survey showed that 79% disapproves of the way price stability is handled by the government”. 74 % of the population is not happy with the level of unemployment within the country. 68% feels that efforts are still very meagre when it comes to job creation within the local economy.