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Globalized Party-based Democracy and Africa:The Influence of Global Party-based Democracy Networks

M.A. Mohamed Salih

CSGR Working Paper No. 173/05

In this paper, I intend to explain what we mean by globalized party-based democracy in an African context.1 The paper treats globalized party-based democracy as an extension of African colonial and imperial legacy and probes questions on the influence of today’s global party-based democracy networks on African political parties. Specifically, I compare the accession of the major political parties in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to global party-based democracy networks, and their influence on their ideologies and policy orientations in an era of neo-liberal globalisation.

If some aspects of African party-based democracy have globalized, the next question is what aspects have not (been) globalized. Paradoxically, despite a myriad of global influences, party-based democracies in Africa have retained much of their nascent quasi-polyarchy traits characterised by ethnic, religious and regional divisions, political patronage and weak internal party democracy. This prospect negates the idea that African political parties, indeed African political institutions, are under threat of being “universalised” as consequence of the ascendancy of globalized party-based democracy.

 

Keywords: Political party development, democratic transition, quasi-polyarchy, global party-to-party networks, party-based democracy, neo-liberal globalization, economic policy reforms.