Globalising party politics in Africa: the influence of party-based democracy networks
African political party-based democracy is an extension of Africa’s colonial and imperial legacy and post-independence incorporation into global policy agendas, party-to-party and parliamentary partnerships and networks. Paradoxically, despite myriad global influences, party-based democracies have retained much of Africa’s nascent quasi-polyarchical traits, characterised by ethnic, religious and regional cleavages, political patronage and weak internal party democracy. Specifically, this chapter compares and contrasts the accession of the major political parties in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi to global party-based democratic networks, and their influence on political programmes and policy orientations in an era of neo-liberal globalisation. The chapter also examines which aspects of African party-based democracy have, and which have not, been globalised. The view that Africa’s parties oscillate between globalisation and localisation contradicts the idea that African political parties, and indeed African political institutions more generally, are under threat of being ‘universalised’ as a consequence of the ascendancy of globalised partybased democracy.