Accepted Paper:

Political finance and authoritarian party organization: A political economy analysis of Tanzania's Chama Cha Mapinduzi  


Michaela Collord (New College, University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

Paper long abstract:

Organizational strength is frequently cited as a key factor underpinning authoritarian party survival (see Levitsky and Way, 2007; Brownlee, 2007). But why are some party organizations strong and others not? This paper offers a theory of party-building in developing countries which relates the structure of political finance to different patterns of authoritarian party organization. Bearing in mind the pervasive clientelism in developing countries (Khan, 2010), I argue that where control over patronage distribution is centralized, a ruling party is better able and more likely to pursue organizational strengthening. Conversely, where control over patronage is dispersed across party elites, informal patronage organizations are likely to substitute for a more cohesive formal party apparatus. I illustrate this argument through a within-case comparison of Tanzania's long-time ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM). I contrast the extent of its organizational coherence and strength, first, during the period of socialist economic planning and then after a succession of liberalizing economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. Whereas in pre-reform Tanzania, the state dominated the economy while the private sector remained small, the liberalization process saw the multiplication of private entrepreneurs, who could then become political financiers. I argue that this change in Tanzania's political economy has transformed CCM from a more coherent and rule-bound party to one increasingly riven by internal divisions organized around informal patronage networks. I trace this evolution within CCM through a strategic focus on changes in the parliamentary nomination process, which in turn reflect broader changes in the coherence of CCM's procedures and organization.

Panel P056
Party Politics under Authoritarian Rule