Friend or Foe? Dominant Party Systems In Southern Africa: Insights from the developing world


Nicola de Jager
Stellenbosch University
Pierre du Toit
Stellenbosch University


South Africa and Botswana share a border with Zimbabwe, and ostensibly the same political system, but are these countries, and their neighbour Namibia, on the same political trajectory?

Within southern Africa, there has been an observable increase in dominant party systems, in which one political party dominates over a prolonged period, within a democratic system with regular elections. This party system has replaced the one party system that dominated Africa’s political landscape after the first wave of liberations in the 1950s and 1960s.

Other countries in the developing world, such as India, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan, once had dominant party systems which have since developed into multi-party democracies. By comparing the political systems in southern Africa with these previously dominant party systems, this book seeks to understand the trend of dominant parties, and its implications.

The salient question posed by this book is: Which route are Botswana, Namibia and South Africa taking? It answers by drawing conclusions to indicate whether these countries are moving towards liberal democracy, as in the four non-African comparisons; authoritarianism, as in Zimbabwe; or a road in between.


  • Friend or Foe? Dominant Party Systems In Southern Africa
    Insights from the developing world


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8 February 2022


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