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Campaigning, coercion, and clientelism: ZANUPF’s strategies in Zimbabwe’s presidential elections, 2008-13

Lewanika, McDonald (2019) Campaigning, coercion, and clientelism: ZANUPF’s strategies in Zimbabwe’s presidential elections, 2008-13. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis engages the puzzle of why competitive authoritarian regimes campaign when they could achieve their desired ends through violence, electoral manipulation and other illicit strategies to retain power. It uses Zimbabwe’s ruling party - the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front’s (ZANUPF) election in the run-up to the 2008 and 2013 presidential campaigns. The thesis bases its analysis on the classification of constituencies into three main types: ZANU-PF-aligned constituencies (ZACs), opposition-aligned constituencies (OACs), and battleground constituencies (BCs). It identifies an overarching strategic logic behind ZANU-PF’s campaigning in 2008 and 2013 as a risk mitigation strategy against its loss of power and legitimacy. ZANU-PF pursued this broad strategy through attempting to maximise votes and voter turnout for itself while achieving the inverse for the opposition, i.e. minimizing its vote and turnout. I argue that ZANU-PF achieved its strategic logics through the deployment of combinations of seemingly competing strategies that included persuasion, intimidation, and clientelist inducements, deployed differently across space, depending on constituency type. I also argue that ZANU-PF implemented a spatially variegated strategy of mobilising its core-constituents (especially in 2008) and chasing more independent voters (especially in 2013). The differences in strategic thrust between 2008 and 2013 suggest that contrary to popular analysis, ZANU-PF was a learning organisation, adept at adapting its strategies over time and space to preserve power as well as enhance its legitimacy. The thesis employs a nested subnational comparative analysis research design, which combines nested analysis (Lieberman, 2005) and the subnational comparative method (Snyder, 2001). It combines descriptive statistics with detailed qualitative description in analysis of presidential election campaigns at the national and subnational level.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2019 McDonald Lewanika
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Boone, Catherine and McDoom, Omar

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