Party Politics under Authoritarian Rule
Date and Start Time 01 July, 2017 at 09:00
On the institutional trajectories of political parties in authoritarian regimes: this panel invites papers with insights into the inner workings of parties and their micro-level activities that underpin continuity or change in party systems, especially when they do so in unexpected ways.
Much work writes of 'democratization' and 'autocratization'. This panel hopes to bring together papers that offer complicating narratives of party politics in electoral authoritarian regimes in sub-Saharan Africa. It invites papers that characterise diverse trajectories in political party institutional development across both dominant or opposition parties. Papers should explain institutional change or continuity in political parties. Ideally, they should find unusual or unexpected sorts of institutional phenomena at work, and they should do so by unpicking the meso- or micro-level workings of political parties. Authors are invited to engage with a broad and open conception of political party institutions. Papers that engage with 'bricks and mortar' party organs, internal electoral procedures and rules, hierarchical relationships between parties leaders and inferiors, and extra-party routines of election campaigning will all be considered.
This panel aspires through papers like these to detail the divergence in political parties' trajectories in both government and opposition in electoral authoritarian regimes in sub-Saharan Africa. By doing so, it hopes to link democratization and autocratization to party politics while avoiding the common trappings of democratic teleology.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
The Authoritarian Origins of Well-Organized Opposition Parties: the Rise of Chadema in Tanzania
The literature suggests that conditions in Tanzania would stifle opposition party-building. This paper explains the organization expansion of Chadema as a deviant case. Local branch establishment, social actors, state substitution, and banking liberalization all feature at the heart of this account.
Well-organized opposition parties are rare occurrences in sub-Saharan Africa, and the literature specifies particular conditions under which they emerge. Tanzania met few of these conditions. By all accounts, Tanzania was an inhospitable environment for opposition party-building and for the first ten years after democratic transition, little opposition development took place. However, from 2004 onwards, one opposition party began a long process of establishing branches across the country. This paper is about the rise of Chadema in Tanzania. It documents the mode of party-building that it undertook, and why it was possible. It presents Chadema in Tanzania as a deviant case that contradicts key findings in the literature, and it uses that case to complicate and build upon existing theory. It agrees with the literature that the nature of the preceding authoritarian regime shapes the opportunities that opposition parties inherit. However, it contends that authoritarian regimes that are particularly successful in re-forming social life unwittingly encourage opposition parties in subsequent democratic regimes to organize. By successfully flattening the associational landscape, they rob opposition parties of potential surrogate branches, and therefore they leave them no choice but to develop their own branches from scratch.
Political finance and authoritarian party organization: A political economy analysis of Tanzania's Chama Cha Mapinduzi
Organizational strength is frequently cited as a key factor underpinning authoritarian party survival (see Levitsky and Way, 2007; Brownlee, 2007). But why are some party organizations strong and others not? This paper offers a theory of party-building in developing countries which relates the structure of political finance to different patterns of authoritarian party organization. Bearing in mind the pervasive clientelism in developing countries (Khan, 2010), I argue that where control over patronage distribution is centralized, a ruling party is better able and more likely to pursue organizational strengthening. Conversely, where control over patronage is dispersed across party elites, informal patronage organizations are likely to substitute for a more cohesive formal party apparatus. I illustrate this argument through a within-case comparison of Tanzania's long-time ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). I contrast the extent of its organizational coherence and strength, first, during the period of socialist economic planning and then after a succession of liberalizing economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Whereas in pre-reform Tanzania, the state dominated the economy while the private sector remained small, the liberalization process saw the multiplication of private entrepreneurs, who could then become political financiers. I argue that this change in Tanzania's political economy has transformed CCM from a more coherent and rule-bound party to one increasingly riven by internal divisions organized around informal patronage networks. I trace this evolution within CCM through a strategic focus on changes in the parliamentary nomination process, which in turn reflect broader changes in the coherence of CCM's procedures and organization.
"Some women can shoot better than men": the search for gender equality in Namibia
This paper seeks to why political parties might choose to introduce a gender quota, and whether increasing the number of women in parliament necessarily facilitates better representation of women's issues.
In Africa, fewer than one-quarter of all legislators are women. This aggregate figure, however, obscures considerable cross-national variation. In 2008, Rwanda became the first country in the world to achieve a majority female legislature. Seven years later South Africa, the Seychelles and Senegal featured alongside Rwanda in the Interparliamentary Union's top ten countries by level of female representation. In each of these four cases, a gender quota had been used to overcome decades of male hegemony.
The literature suggests that gender quotas are most likely to be introduced during moments of post-conflict reconstruction, social mobilisation, or international pressure. None of these explanations seem however relevant to Namibia, where the ruling South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) introduced a voluntary gender quota - to great effect - in 2013. My paper seeks therefore (a) to explain how and why SWAPO's quota was introduced; and (b) whether a resulting increase in the number of female MPs has led to better representation of women. It argues that scholars have tended to underestimate the opportunities for working alongside party women's leagues in the pursuit of change, but also that proportional representation (PR) constitutes a double-edged sword, encouraging women to enter parliament whilst hampering their ability to articulate women's interests.
Participating in or fighting against the system: the role of opposition parties in hybrid regimes
Based upon ongoing qualitative research being conducted in Uganda and Burkina Faso, this paper will ponder why do opposition parties exist and subsist in hybrid regimes considering the heavily constrained political environment, and how do they position themselves within such a political space.
Opposition parties in sub-Saharan African are often portrayed as weak and irrelevant. This is hardly surprising in a sub-continent characterised by hybrid, one-party dominant regimes where constrains such as intimidation, corruption, electoral fraud, and monopoly of state resources make it unlikely, if not impossible, for opposition parties to obtain power, influence policies, or make the government accountable by democratic means. Still, despite those constraints, old opposition parties remain while new ones emerge, often splitting from the ruling elite. Based upon ongoing qualitative research being conducted in Uganda and Burkina Faso, this paper will ponder why do opposition parties exist and subsist in hybrid regimes considering the heavily constrained political environment, and how do they position themselves within such a political space.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.