South African president Jacob Zuma (fourth left) dances with supporters. How further down will he and his party go in political standing? (Photo/GZA/Flickr).

Despite Shifts In Support, S. Africa’s ANC Remains Dominant As A ‘Village’ Party – Like The Ones In Uganda And Zimbabwe

NO liberation party government has ever lost power at the ballot box in Africa. However, when their support bleeds, usually it happens first in urban areas, although that is not always a fatal political development. In this insightful article, Mashupye Herbert Maserumule, Professor of Public Affairs, Tshwane University of Technology, examines the case of South Africa’s African National Congress, which is facing local elections in which it is expected to fare badly.

AS democracy in South Africa matures, an inevitable question ahead of any election is whether the African National Congress (ANC) – the governing party since 1994 – is becoming a rural party. This is because the ANC’s support in urban areas has been in decline while, in relative terms, it remains popular in rural areas.

This isn’t a pattern peculiar to South Africa. Liberation movements that became governing parties following their respective countries’ independence enjoyed wide popularity in the earlier years of independence. But over time this has tended to fizzle out, largely in urban areas.

Many of these liberation-movements-cum-governing-parties now depend on countryside support for political longevity. This includes instances where power has been usurped by military coups.

Robert Mugabe’s grip on power in Zimbabwe, for example, is maintained by a countryside support. The urban vote is with the Movement for Democratic Change. In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Army survives on the countryside support.

-Read full article “South Africa’s ANC has remained dominant despite shifts in support base’, in The Conversation



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