I work in the field of comparative politics with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and processes of democratization. My doctoral research focussed on the question of how African leaders and ruling parties have manipulated institutions and patronage structures in order to construct and protect power; which strategies have proved the most effective; and what impact this has had on processes of democratization. Looking particularly at the experience of Africa’s one-party states, I sought to explain why and how different patronage structures mobilize support; why some political parties prove to be more durable than others; and why some regimes survived the transition to multi-partyism while others did not.
More recently, I have published on a wide range of topics, including the impact of opinion polls in Africa’s new democracies; whether African political parties are ‘ethnic’; the roots of the ‘Kenya crisis’ of 2007/8; party politics in Zambia; and the impact of power-sharing arrangements in Kenya and Zimbabwe. At present, I am putting the finishing touches to two monographs. The Construction of Power in Africa: Institutions, Patronage, and Political Mobilization updates and extends my doctoral research and compares the strategies used by leaders to consolidate their rule during the one-party era in Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, and Zambia. Democracy in Africa is designed to be a state of the art overview of the fate of Africa’s democratic experiments over the last seventy years. For a full list of publications, click here.