chapter  3
24 Pages

Understanding variations in party bans in Africa

ByChristof Hartmann, Jörg Kemmerzell

The re-introduction of multiparty systems which occurred in most African countries in the five years between 1989 and 1994 occurred with heavy de facto and often also de jure restrictions of the activities of political parties. To re-admit political parties into the political game was certainly often as much a regime strategy to avoid full competition (by controlling the extent and the practice of competition) as a true attempt at democratization. While some incumbent presidents went so far as to artificially increasing the number of registered political parties (by directly creating several of them or by creating incentives for split-offs from existing parties) in order to weaken the authentic party opposition to their rule, political parties became easy targets of popular frustration about rent-seeking

politicians and of manipulation by powerful heads of state within the strongly presidential systems of government.