It's Our Time to 'Chop': Do Elections in Africa Feed Neopatrimonialism rather than Counter-Act it?

Staffan I Lindberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

179 Citations (SciVal)


This article addresses the concern that democratization may contribute to the reproduction of neo-patrimonialism, rather than to counteract it. The article reports the result of a survey among members of parliament in Ghana regarding their election campaigns. Total spending, sources of funds, and their usage are analysed in the context of the consolidation of liberal democracy. The survey results are supplemented with data collected in 34 interviews with MPs. The data show that MPs are involved in patron-client relationships to a significant degree to reproduce their political power. Furthermore, the prevalence of patronage politics among MPs in Ghana has increased throughout the period of democratic rule. This persistent pattern of patronage politics threatens the very heart of democratic consolidation. Vertical accountability and legitimacy is threatened by alternative pacts of loyalty, expectations of corruption, and tendencies to delegative mandates. Horizontal accountability risks pervasion by 'big man' interventions, and by insufficient allocation of time to monitoring the government and legislative activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Political Science


  • Politiska partier
  • Politik i tredje världen
  • Politisk makt och demokrati


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