The Centre for Social Sciences Research (CSSR) and the  Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa  (IDCPPA) at the University of Cape Town invites you to join us for a lunchtime seminar on 05 September 2023 presented by Dr Matthias Krönke at 12:45pm. 

About the Seminar:

Conveyor-belts of information: The role of political parties in basic service delivery in Africa

Despite a growing interest, African political parties have received relatively little attention beyond their role as providers of clientelistic goods and services. Yet, they also regularly transmit large amounts of information about government performance between the state and its citizens. In this paper, I aim to fill this gap in the literature by arguing that where political parties collect, process, and share information about government service delivery between citizens and bureaucrats, citizens are more satisfied with said services, even where the provision is objectively the same.

To illustrate political parties’ role as Conveyor-Belts of Information, I focus specifically on local party activists. First, using a panel survey of Zambian citizens I demonstrate that party activists and elected officials operate as ambassadors, advocates, and problem solvers, continuously exchanging information with citizens about service delivery during and between elections. Second, I use surveys of Malawian party elites and bureaucrats to show the inner workings of political parties as conveyor-belts of information that seek to improve citizen experience with service delivery. The findings of this study have important implications for our understanding of how political parties contribute to democratic accountability in Africa.


Dr Matthias Krönke recently completed his PhD in Political Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT). He is a co-founder of the Political Parties in Africa project at UCT, and he has been working for Afrobarometer since 2018.

His primary research interest is the internal organisation of political parties, as well as legislatures, and how their representatives affect processes of democratisation and development in Africa.

 05 September 2023
 12:45 - 14:00 SAST
  CSSR Seminar Room, 4.29 Robert Leslie Social Science Building, UCT

Hosted by the Centre for Social Science Research and the Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa