Refractory Frontier: Intra-party Democracy in the Zambian Polity

  • John Bwalya The Copperbelt University
  • Owen B. Sichone The Copperbelt University

Abstract

Despite the important role that intra-party democracy plays in democratic consolidation, particularly in third-wave democracies, it has not received as much attention as inter-party democracy. Based on the Zambian polity, this article uses the concept of selectocracy to explain why, to a large extent, intra-party democracy has remained a refractory frontier. Two traits of intra-party democracy are examined: leadership transitions at party president-level and the selection of political party members for key leadership positions. The present study of four political parties: United National Independence Party (UNIP), Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), United Party for National Development (UPND) and Patriotic Front (PF) demonstrates that the iron law of oligarchy predominates leadership transitions and selection. Within this milieu, intertwined but fluid factors, inimical to democratic consolidation but underpinning selectocracy, are explained.

Author Biographies

John Bwalya, The Copperbelt University

John Bwalya is Senior Lecturer and Acting Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at the Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia. He has researched and published on urban space and governance, and electoral politics. E-mail: johnb.bwalya@cbu.ac.zm.

Owen B. Sichone, The Copperbelt University

Owen B. Sichone is a Cambridge trained political anthropologist with long service teaching in Zambian and South African universities. He is currently Inaugural Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia. He has previously written on xenophobia and xenophilia in South Africa and currently studies ethnic power relations in Zambia. E-mail: osichone@ gmail.com.

Published
2018-12-10
How to Cite
BWALYA, John; SICHONE, Owen B.. Refractory Frontier: Intra-party Democracy in the Zambian Polity. Modern Africa: Politics, History and Society, [S.l.], v. 6, n. 2, p. 7-31, dec. 2018. ISSN 2570-7558. Available at: <http://edu.uhk.cz/africa/index.php/ModAfr/article/view/216>. Date accessed: 18 july 2019. doi: https://doi.org/10.26806/modafr.v6i2.216.