The basis of democracy and regime legitimacy in African states: the case of Tanzania
Nyaluke, David (2013) The basis of democracy and regime legitimacy in African states: the case of Tanzania. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
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African states have been seen to struggle with the implementation of democracy, both before and after they adopted multiparty electoral systems, from the 1990s onwards. Many states continued to be dominated by a single party and opposition parties have found it difficult to establish themselves as regime parties dominate the political competition. The neo-patrimonial literature, as the most widely used framework for analysing African politics, explains this in terms of a misuse of state power and corrupt electoral practises favouring the ruling parties. This thesis argues that African politics cannot be adequately understood using a neo-patrimonial framework, because this framework discounts the possibility of African political thought and the development of a political organisation in Africa as a basis for democracy and public good politics. In the case of Tanzania it is argued that the continued electoral success of CCM (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) cannot be explained either by the misuse of state power or corrupt election practices, and that the explanation lies in the capacity of CCM to use a legitimacy narrative to build a political organisation and the continued mobilisation of the party and the electorate on the basis of ‘public good politics’ founded on the ideas of the independence movement. It analyses the way in which the regime built legitimacy and popular support between 1961 and 1985 and how the regime party used this legacy of legitimacy to control the transition to a multi party system. It demonstrates that the continued high levels of electoral support for the regime party CCM rested on a successful legitimacy narrative developed during the multi-party era and linked to the ideology of the independence movement rather than the factors indicated by the Neo-patrimonial literature. Contrary to the argument of neo-patrimonial approaches, which posits a pessimistic view of the capacity of African states to evolve into democracies, this thesis argues that the case of Tanzania indicates that a form of African public good politics and the building of a political community can be a foundation for the development of democratic government.
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