Weak Ties in Zambia and Kenya

Adrienne LeBas

in From Protest to Parties

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199546862
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728594 | DOI:
Weak Ties in Zambia and Kenya

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Chapter 6 argues that civic life in both Zambia and Kenya was characterized by weak social ties, which impeded party-building before and after democratic transitions began. The structure of these ties differed. In Zambia, the loose cross-regional networks of organized labor provided likely opposition supporters with a focal point and a means of coordinating votes. In Kenya, on the other hand, civic life was atomized to the district level, which made the coordination of protest across space or across ethnic groups far more difficult. In Zambia, trade unions provided a mobilizing structure that allowed for a successful protest movement as opposition to the ruling party increased. In Kenya, the absence of this mobilizing structure led opposition leaders to rely on ethnic mobilization. In the two countries, different network structures had different implications for the coordination of protest, but they were similarly unsuited for the building of strong, durable opposition parties.

Keywords: Zambia; Kenya; popular protest; strikes; food riots; opposition; democratic transition; political liberalization; Zambian Congress of Trade Unions; ZCTU; Movement for Multiparty Democracy; MMD; Forum for the Restoration of Democracy; FORD; Kenya African National Union; KANU

Chapter.  12723 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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