Much of the relevant literature on Africa downplays the salience of elections for policy-making and implementation. Instead, the importance of factors such as clientelism, ethnicity, organized interest group and donor influence, is emphasized. We argue that, in addition, elections now motivate political elites to focus on policies they perceive to be able to gain votes. This is based on analyses of six landmark decisions made during the last fifteen years in the social, productive and public finance sectors in Tanzania and Uganda. Such policies share a number of key characteristics: they are clearly identifiable with the party in power; citizens country-wide are targeted; and policy implementation aim at immediate, visible results. The influence of elections on policy making and implementation could therefore be more significant in countries where elections are more competitive than in Tanzania and Uganda.
Democratization, 2013, Vol 20, Issue 4, p. 592-614