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Title:When 'populists' become 'unpopular': the case of three presidents in Africa
Author:Makulilo, Alexander B.ISNI
Periodical:The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs (ISSN 0856-0056)
Geographic terms:South Africa
heads of State
About persons:Jakaya Khalfan Mrisho Kikwete (1950-)ISNI
Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba (1943-2011)ISNI
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (1942-)ISNI
Abstract:No leader in the world would like to be called populist. This is partly owing to the fact that the term connotes radicalism and anti-establishment. Notwithstanding this extremism, some leaders employ populist strategies to mobilize support for votes during elections thereby exhibiting the rhetoric of 'a man of the people'. Unlike other regions of the 'Third World' and more specifically Latin America where populism is common, populist encounters were rare in Africa. However, with the third wave of democratization, the phenomenon is becoming more apparent. This article compares populist strategies of President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, the former President Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba of Zambia and President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma of South Africa. Contrary to their campaigns on effecting radical transformations for the betterment of the people, populist leaders have been by and large a failure. Paradoxically, the same factors that seem to give rise to populism in the region, such as economic and leadership crises, are the same ones that have facilitated its downfall. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]