This book takes a closer look at the role and meaning of political opposition for the development of democracy across sub-Saharan Africa. Why is room for political opposition in most cases so severely limited? Under what circumstances has the political opposition been able to establish itself in a legitimate role in African politics? To answer these questions this edited volume focuses on the institutional settings, the nature and dynamics within and between political parties, and the relationship between the citizens and political parties. It is found that regional devolution and federalist structures enable political opposition to organize and gain local power, as a supplement to influence at the central level. Generally, however, opposition parties are lacking in organization and institutionalization, as well as in their ability to find support in civil society and promote the issues that voters find most important. Overall, strong executive powers, unchecked by democratic institutions, in combination with deferential values and fear of conflict, undermine legitimate opposition activity.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Democratization.
1. Political opposition and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa Emil Uddhammar (Linnaeus Unviersity, School of Social Sciences), Elliott Green (Department of International Development, London School of Economics) and Johanna Söderström (Uppsala University, Department of Government)
2. The ANC and power concentration in South Africa: does local democracy allow for power-sharing? Ragnhild Louise Muriaas (University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics)
3. Decentralization and political opposition in contemporary Africa: evidence from Sudan and Ethiopia Elliott Green (Department of International Development, London School of Economics)
4. Institutionalizing the pro-democracy movements: the case of Zambia’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy Lise Rakner (University of Bergen, Department of Comparative Politics)
5. How the opposition parties in Angola and Mozambique lost the countryside Aslak Orre (PhD, Chr. Michelsen Institute, Bergen)
6. Parties and issues in Francophone West Africa: towards a theory of non-mobilization Jaimie Bleck and Nicolas van de Walle (Political Science, University of Notre Dame), and Nicolas van de Walle (Cornell University, Department of Government)
7. Dissent and opposition among ex-combatants in Liberia Johanna Söderström (Uppsala University, Department of Government)
8. Supporting the opposition or the ruling party: stark choices in East Africa Emil Uddhammar (Linnaeus Unviersity, School of Social Sciences)
9. Effective Opposition Strategies: Collective Goods or Clientelism? Keith R. Weghorst (Department of Political Science, University of Florida) and Staffan I. Lindberg (Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg and Department of Political Science, University of Florida)