Citizen Trust

Tomorrow at 1300 UK time, participants will gather online for the third webinar in the series on the new book Beyond Impunity: New Directions for Governance in Malawi. It is not too late to register – full information is available at:

Social scientists Joseph Chunga, Happy Kayuni and Robert Mattes will address the issue of citizen trust – how far the people have trust in the institutions of government. In Malawi, Chunga and Kayuni have traced declining levels of public trust in key governance institutions due to the persistence of neo-patrimonial tendencies, tepid public sector reforms, poor economic management, and the persistence of a political culture of patronage, clientelism and corruption. This has progressively undermined the legitimacy of the state and consolidation of the country’s hard won multiparty democracy. 

Even in countries with a much longer history of democratic government, the issue of citizen trust seems to be a growing one. The covid-19 pandemic has highlighted how important it can be for the citizens to be able to trust the government, but also raised questions about whether governments have earned such trust. While Malawi is in the spotlight, the lessons learned will most likely have wide application. A lively discussion can be expected.

Good news is that the book on which the webinar series is based is now available from the African Books Collective:

A low-cost Malawi print edition and an online open-access version from the University of Cape Town Press are expected early next year.

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