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Public opinion as leadership disincentive: exploring a governance dilemma in the AIDS response in Africa.
Contemporary Politics. 2012 Jun; 18(2):174-185.There is increasing emphasis in global declaration on the need to get politics right in the response to AIDS, particularly in terms of strengthening accountable leadership. However, in the worst affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa, such governance prescriptions introduce political concerns that are not well understood. In a context of the neo-patrimonial governance that characterises African democracies, the paper analyses data from the Afrobarometer on public opinions on AIDS in 20 countries to identify and explore the governance dilemma that leaders face when they are expected to show strong leadership on an issue that is low on the public political agenda. By identifying country-level correlates and individual-level determinants of the strong opinion on AIDS that is held by a minority, the paper suggests how public opinion for an effective response can be mobilised in ways that are politically sustainable.