Photo: Ziphozonke Lushaba

PPA Virtual Conference

The Political Parties in Africa Project (PPA), supported by the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA), invites paper proposals for a virtual conference on 21 & 22 January 2021. We particularly welcome papers that focus on aspects of intra-party democracy, candidate selection, and campaign mobilization efforts. Please submit your proposal by by 9 November 2020

The Political Parties in Africa (PPA) project seeks to improve the quality of information about political parties that is available to citizens, policy makers and the academic community. We do this by collecting data, developing online resources, providing analysis, and partnering with organizations and researchers around the world. Central to this is the development of a new cross-national data set on African political parties, containing information on their formal rules, their organization and activities at a national and sub-national level, and their interactions with citizens. The latest project related information can be found here.

The Political Parties in Africa Project is hosted at the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa at the University of Cape Town, and is being developed as a cross-institutional collaboration between:

Jeremy Seekings,University of Cape Town
Robert B. Mattes, University of Strathclyde
Sarah J. Lockwood, Columbia University
Matthias Krönke, University of Cape Town


Formal Rules: In collaboration with the Political Party Database (PPDB), we collect data on the formal rules governing political parties in Africa. The data is comprised of basic party information and three sections incorporating information on party resources and events, party structures and institutions, and national legislative elections. This is the first time the PPDB will include data on African parties.

So far, we have collected data on parties in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We are in the process of extending our data collection further across the continent.


Party Footprint: Measuring Local Party Presence Across the Continent, with Sarah J. Lockwood and Robert Mattes, Afrobarometer Working Paper No. 186 PDF (APSA 2019, University of Cape Town, 2018).

Clients or Party Activists? Party Membership and Mobilization in Africa, with Sarah J. Lockwood (APSA 2020, MPSA 2018, Italian Political Science Association, 2018).

Does Intra-Party Democracy Affect Local Party Presence?, with Sarah J. Lockwood (Political Party Database Conference, 2020)

The Consequences of Partisanship in Africa: Cognitive Lens or Tribal Straightjacket?, with Robert Mattes, Research Handbook on Political Partisanship.

The Role of Political Parties in Basic Service Delivery (WGAPE 2019, IDCPPA 2019).


Photo: South African History Online

The Judiciaries in Africa (JiA) project aims to further our understanding of judiciaries in Africa by collecting systematic comparative information with a focus on judicial independence, legitimacy and access to justice. The research aims to answer questions that are important to academics, policy makers and practitioners. Broadly speaking, the project seeks to answer three questions: To what extent are judiciaries independent from other branches of government, able to enforce the rule of law, and provide access to justice? Why some judiciaries do better or worse in fulfilling their mandates? Which factors are facilitating or impeding institutional development of judiciaries, and thus the quality and health of multiparty democracy in Africa?

The Judiciaries in Africa project is a collaboration between the Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) and the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA) at the University of Cape Town. The Steering Committee currently comprises Vanja Karth (DGRU), Chris
(DGRU) and Matthias Krönke (IDCPPA).


Constitutional Powers of African apex courts (2019): This data set is building on the information collected by Alexander Stroh & Charlotte Heyl (2015). The data set maps five different dimensions of apex courts: Access, Powers, Ex Ante Constraints, Ex Post Constraints, and Reach. We used their coding scheme and extended the 9 country sample of West African countries to include an additional 10 African countries. The 19 countries covered are: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mauritania, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

South African Magistrate Survey: In 2019, we conducted an online survey of Magistrates in South Africa exploring how magistrates experience their daily work environment (e.g. work load, opportunities for career progression, corruption, safety, and institutional support).

Magistrate Court User Survey – South Africa (forthcoming): This survey is designed to provide new insights in how South Africans experience Magistrate Courts focusing on issues such as access to courts, court procedures, and corruption. The surveys will be conducted in Cape Town, Paarl, and Mthatha.

High Court User Survey – Malawi, Namibia, and South Africa: More information coming soon.

South African High Court Judges Survey: More information coming soon.

African Courts and Elections: More information coming soon.


Public Confidence in the Judiciary: A South African Perspective, with Chris Oxtoby, 2020, Judicial Education and Training (7). PDF.

Judicial Autonomy: Does it Matter for Public Confidence in the Courts?, with Chris Oxtoby (African Network of Constitutional Lawyers, 2018).

Bounded Autonomy: What Limits Zimbabweans’ Trust in their Courts and Electoral Commission?, 2018, Afrobarometer Policy Paper No. 52. PDF