Image: Stats SA

I am a PhD student in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I am also a graduate researcher at the Institute of Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA). My research focuses primarily on political parties and judicial politics in Africa.

I study Comparative Politics and Political Behavior, focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. In particular, I am interested in the challenges of how citizens engage with political parties and government bureaucracies. My dissertation examines the role of political parties as “Conveyor Belts of Information” shaping citizens’ satisfaction with basic service delivery in Africa. My research has been supported by the IDCPPA and the Program on Governance and Local Development (University of Gothenburg).

A second stream of research assesses judicial power in Africa and implications for citizens’ perception of the courts on the one hand, and the quality of elections on the other. Parts of this research have been supported by the Norwegian Embassy and the Social Justice Initiative via the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit at UCT.

Most recent work

Party footprints in Africa: Measuring local party presence across the continent (with Sarah J. Lockwood & Robert Mattes)

Abstract: The conventional view of Africa’s political parties holds that they are organizationally weak, with little presence at the grass roots. Yet, few studies are based on systematically collected data about more than a handful of parties or countries at any given point. In this paper, we attempt to remedy this situation, by focusing on one crucial aspect of party organization – the local presence that enables political parties to engage with and mobilize voters during and between elections – and developing the first systematic, survey-based measure of the extent of this presence across 35 countries. We draw on a wide variety of data to demonstrate the validity and reliability of this new index, and in the process showcase its ability to be calculated at a number of different levels. Finally, we illustrate its utility by applying it to a key substantive question in the literature.

This article is part of a symposium on Party Structures and Organization Building in Africa published in Party Politics and co-edited by Sarah J. Lockwood, Robert Mattes and myself.

The symposium also features articles by Aikande Kwayu (“Determinants of a Political Party’s Social Media Strategy: A Comparative Analysis of Tanzania’s Opposition Political Parties’ Twitter Practices“), Dan Paget (“Lone Organizers: Opposition Party Building in Hostile Places in Tanzania“), Consolata Sully (“Democracy within Parties: Electoral Consequences of Candidate Selection Methods in Tanzania“), and Shana Warren, “Democratizing Candidate Selection: Controlled Turnover in Botswana’s Bulela Ditswe Primaries”.

Political Parties in Africa

This project collects new data on political parties’ organizational structures at a national and sub-national level, as well as their interactions with citizens.

Image: Sumaya Hisham Reuters

Judiciaries in Africa

This project collects systematic comparative information with a focus on judicial independence, legitimacy and access to justice

Image: South African History Online