It is axiomatic that the existence of political parties and their active participation is one of the key ingredients for representative democracy. The irony of the democratisation process is that, this notwithstanding, there is talk of building democracy without equally important discussion on how political parties can be capacitated by way of skills development and financing in order for them to contribute to the process. Where reference is made to political parties it is often about them and without their inputs. This chapter looks at political party financing in terms of the opportunities and challenges entailed in regulating party financing in Africa. Using the case studies of Lesotho and Mozambique, the chapter argues that while financing challenges are country specific, their causes are common to most countries. The chapter borrows from Hopkin’s mass party–cartel party models explanation of the causes of party financing problems including problems related to the regulation. This framework finds that party financing from the sources based on traditional political participation of the members of society has been attenuated by the emergence of new and often sophisticated forms of participation which have led to the emergence of cartel party systems which are highly dependent on state financing. The finding from Lesotho and Mozambique indicates that while public funding of parties is a good consociation mechanism, regulation and enforcement raises problems. The chapter contends that public funding of parties in these countries, and by extension elsewhere in the continent, has led to a proliferation of office-seeking parties instead of policy-seeking ones. Governing parties and coalitions remain dominant against enfeebled opposition parties. It therefore concludes that there is a need to put in place comprehensive regulations governing political parties’ activities as well as setting up of clear horizontal and vertical accounting mechanism for the public funds used for political party financing.
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