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

Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable? Evidence from Africa (with Sarah J. Lockwood)

Abstract: A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behaviour, but little work has been done looking at its effects on other forms of democratic accountability, such as contacting elected representatives and protesting. Using data from 36 African countries, we find that the type of electoral system has a significant relationship with these other forms of participation. Citizens in PR systems are significantly more likely to protest than those in majoritarian ones, while those in majoritarian systems are more likely to contact elected representatives. We argue that this is because the connection between citizens and representatives in majoritarian systems is clearer, closer, and more responsive, making contact an effective strategy and providing an efficient “safety valve” when citizens want to hold their government accountable. The lack of a similar connection in most PR systems, in contrast, leads citizens to turn to protest more regularly.

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