Presenters:Hangala Siachiwena and Courtney Hallink

Theoretical approaches to studying African politics have emphasized the salience of ethnicity and clientelism to understanding political parties, while downplaying the significance of ideology. This research challenges conventional arguments that political parties in Africa are devoid of programmatic content and that party leaders do not articulate ideas that can be described as ideology. It demonstrates that in the area of social welfare, ideology matters in Zambian politics. The researchers demonstrate that the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), and the official opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND), promote distinct ideas about social welfare, including differences in attitudes about the role of the state in providing social assistance to the poorest. The study also shows that PF and UPND ideas on social welfare reflect the distinct normative or popular values associated with their party leaders and the ethnic groups or regions where support for each party is dominant.

This paper draws from two separate research projects that were part of the Legislating and Implementing Welfare Policy Reform research programme in the Institute for Democracy Citizenship and Public Policy at the University of Cape Town. The first project focused on social protection policy reforms in Zambia under the Patriotic Front governments of Michael Sata and Edgar Lungu. The second project focused on self-identified liberal political parties and attitudes of political elites towards social protection in three Southern African countries, including the United Party for National Development in Zambia

Hangala Siachiwena is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Institute for Democracy Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA) where he is part of the Political Parties in Africa research team. He completed his PhD thesis in the Sociology department at UCT in late 2019 (currently under examination) which focused on the politics of social policy making in Zambia and Malawi. Hangala is also a part-time lecturer in the Sociology department.

Courtney Hallink is a PhD student at the University of Cambridge. She completed her Master's in the Sociology department at UCT in 2019. Her thesis research examined how politicians in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia who identify as ‘liberal’ think about the role of the state in contexts of widespread poverty and unemployment (especially in South Africa). Courtney’s current research focuses on elite and public perceptions of the poor, particularly unemployed adults, and the impact on social policy in South Africa.