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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Coalition Politics and Coalition Governments in Africa
Author:Oyugi, Walter O.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
political parties
multiparty systems
Politics and Government
External links:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000500513739
Abstract:The formation of coalitions between political parties before or after elections is driven by a perceived need, either to win an election and form a government or to constitute a working majority in parliament. There is widespread agreement in the literature that coalitions are formed to pursue goals over which coalition partners agree and to enable the coalition partners to share the pay-offs associated with power-holding. In Africa, coalition politics and coalition governments have been characterized by instability and frequent break-ups. The first generation of coalitions which came into being on the eve of independence or immediately after, such as in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Congo-Kinshasa, were influenced by the need to address inherited ethno-regional tensions. They were bound to be fragile in nature and this fragility would later account for their instability and eventual collapse. The experience of the second-generation coalitions, formed after the resurrection of multipartyism in the early 1990s, has been more one of instability than stability. Factors at play include the politicization of ethnicity, personality differences, lack of working institutions for conflict resolution, the absence of a culture of trust in the body politic, ideological disconnectedness, and a lingering fear of power-sharing reminiscent of the one-party political culture. In the four countries where coalition government has taken shape, Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi, these factors have not presented themselves evenly nor has their impact on coalition politics been felt equally. Nonetheless, on the whole the African experience to date suggests that coalition politics is unlikely to be the political way forward unless there is a radical reorientation of attitudes, unlikely in societies where office holding is still perceived as the gateway to the accumulation of wealth. Bibliogr., notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]