The Zambian Election Panel Survey





The 2021 election was a crucial test for Zambian democracy. Potentials for further democratic erosion, a decline in meaningful participation, and prospects for election-related violence increased concerns about democracy in Zambia among both local and international stakeholders. However, the tenuous situation in Zambia in 2021 presented an opportunity to interrogate long-held assumptions about democracy in Africa. Accordingly, policymakers, development specialists, and academics of democratization, governance, and electoral systems needed to speculate on the impacts of socio-political institutions, public perceptions, and crises on election cycles. 

Using the Zambia Election Panel Survey (ZEPS), a first-of-its-kind, multistage voter panel survey, this research focused on democracy and institutions, political campaigns and voter choice, and COVID-19 and political participation. Further, ZEPS aimed to uncover changes in Zambian public opinion throughout the electoral campaign and beyond. Using appropriate panel data, ZEPS was a first attempt to study how electoral experiences, institutional performance, and political campaigns shape public opinion.



ZEPS was a collaborative research project spearheaded by an international group of experts on democracy and governance research, electoral systems, and survey methodology in Zambia and beyond. The co-investigators were Ellen Lust (University of Gothenburg), Jeremy Seekings (University of Cape Town), Michael Wahman (Michigan State University), Nicole Beardsworth (University of the Witwatersrand), and Matthias Krönke (University of Cape Town). 


This data collection was supported by the University of Cape Town and Swedish Research Council Recruitment Grant (Swedish Research Council – E0003801), PI: Pam Fredman. We thank Ubuntu Research and Rural Development Company Ltd. for implementing the survey, Dr. Erica Ann Metheney, and Kirk Ammerman for data collection support, Rose Shaber-Twedt, Dalila Sabanic, and Julie Nadler Visser for administrative support. 

infographic showing what Zambian respondents see as the biggest problem facing Zambia

Data Visualisation on Key Findings from ZEPS

After surveying on democracy and public opinion in Zambia
pre-and post-election, we are happy to present key findings
from the Zambia Election Panel Survey. Wishing president
Hichilema and the Zambian people success in achieving these

Read the full report here 

Or download the pdf here. 


Project-Related Publications 

Beardsworth, N., & Krönke, M. (2022) "Party Cadres Threaten Peaceful Elections and Everyday Life in Urban Africa" GLD Policy Brief No. 9.

Kerr, Nicholas; Krönke, Matthias; and Wahman, Michael. (Forthcoming 2024). “Where are the Sore Losers? Competitive Authoritarianism, Incumbent Defeat, and Electoral Trust in Zambia’s 2021 Election.” Public Opinion Quarterly, Pages: TBA.

Krönke, Matthias. (2023). "Conveyor-Belts of Information: The Role of Political Parties in Basic Service Delivery in Africa", PhD Dissertation, University of Cape Town.

Jöst, P., Krönke, M., Lockwood, S. J., & Lust, E. (2023). “Drivers of Political Participation: The Role of Partisanship, Identity, and Incentives in Mobilizing Zambian Citizens.” Comparative Political Studies, 0(0), 

Metheney, E. & Lust, E. (2023). "Zambian Election Panel Survey: Dataset of Responses Before, Near, and After 2021 Elections." Data in Brief,

Seekings, Jeremy. (2023). "Incumbent disadvantage in a swing province: Eastern Province in Zambia’s 2021 general election", Journal of East African Studies 16,4: 576-599,

Seekings, Jeremy and Siachiwena, Hangala. (2021). "Voting preferences among Zambian voters ahead of the August 2021 elections," IDCPPA Working Paper 27, Centre for Social Science Research, University of Cape Town, 

Wahman, Michael. (2023). Controlling Territory, Controlling Voters: The Electoral Geography of African Campaign Violence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN-13:9780198872825


This project was supported by the Swedish Research Council Recruitment Grant (Swedish Research Council - E0003801); University of Cape Town. PI's: Pam Fredman and Jeremy Seekings.