Multi-Ethnic Coalitions in Africa: Business Financing of Opposition Election Campaigns (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics)

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Incumbent leaders in African countries typically keep themselves in power, winning election after election, by using state resources to enlist the support of politicians from other ethnic groups. It is less evident how opposition politicians can form the electoral alliances needed to compete against these entrenched incumbents. This book explains how the business-state relationship can influence coalition bargaining among opposition politicians representing different ethnic groups. It combines cross-national analyses of African countries with in-depth case studies of Cameroon and Kenya to show that incumbents actively manipulate financial controls and institutions in order to prevent members of the business community -- the main funders of parties in poor countries -- from supporting their opposition. It demonstrates that opposition politicians are more likely to build multiethnic coalitions once incumbents have lost their ability to blackmail the business sector through financial reprisals.

Multiethnic Coalitions in Africa received the Best Book Award in 2013 from the African Politics Conference Group, an organized section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the African Studies Association (ASA). The book was also recognized in 2014 with an Honorable Mention for the Gregory Luebbert Prize for best book from the Comparative Politics section of the American Political Science Association (APSA).