Party structures and organization building in Africa

Lockwood, Sarah J and Krönke, Matthias and Mattes, Robert (2021) Party structures and organization building in Africa. Party Politics, 28 (2). pp. 203-207. ISSN 1354-0688 (

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Political parties are a vital element in the quality of representative democracy, playing a crucial role in mobilization, competition, governance, and accountability. Despite their importance, however, we currently know relatively little about how political parties in Africa are organized, with most evidence restricted to journalistic accounts or country-specific scholarly accounts. This symposium, which comes out of a conference on political parties held at the University of Cape Town, takes a closer look at the development of party structures and organization across the continent. It seeks to answer a number of critical questions including: What affects the organizational structure of parties? How do party primaries affect party-building and electoral success? And what effect does the shrinking of open political space have on the ways in which parties organize? Taken as a whole, this issue brings together established and emerging scholars, to systematically explore, for the first time, what party organization looks like on the African continent, and how it affects critical issues of governance, mobilization, and accountability.


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