Inaugural Party Dominance in Post-Colonial Africa: Uncovering the Bases of Ruling Party Support in Botswana and Zimbabwe

Graduate Research Grant
Grant Year

Several African countries exhibit party systems composed of a single dominant party with no viable electoral challenger. While some of these countries demonstrate clear authoritarian tendencies (Zimbabwe), there are a surprising number of exemplary democracies (Botswana) also found among their ranks. Even more perplexing is the fact that ruling parties from nearly all such countries enjoy unparalleled degrees of public support over their political rivals, often reducing elections to a foregone conclusion. This research project investigates the bases the partisan support for dominant ruling parties that aids in keeping these countries from experiencing meaningful party competition. Funding from this grant will combine with other sources to cover travel costs to two African countries Botswana and Zimbabwe, elite interviews with political experts and party members, and an experimental-based survey to measure and test the explicit and implicit partisan attitudes of citizens from both countries.


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