Africa Dialogue: Complexities of Coalition Politics in Southern Africa
When this publication was first conceived, it was meant to provide answers to three different, albeit inter-connected questions. Firstly, the question of what are the political conditions that lead to the formation of coalitions, either at the level of political parties and/or within governments. Embedded within this question were several assumptions, especially the one that when countries coming out of conflicts form coalition governments they do it as an attempt to ensure collective action towards addressing issues of broader social, political and economic transformation, in other words, peace-building. Secondly, the question about how to offer a deeper understanding of the decisions that inspire some of the political actors to enter into a coalition. Thirdly, and related to the second, the question whether coalitions, at the level of political parties or government, have any positive contribution towards issues of effective governance, and sustainability of governments, thus enabling them to fulfil their mandates. The questions posed above are unpacked by means of three articles, each of which focuses on a specific country case study, namely Lesotho, Mozambique and South Africa. The articles deal with the experiences, challenges, and intricacies of forming coalitions within these three countries, as well as the context under which such coalitions were created or attempted. Interestingly, while the contexts in these three countries may appear to be completely different, there are similar and related challenges that have been experienced by those political actors who have attempted to forge coalitions. With regard to the outcomes in the three countries, however, the articles reflect differences on the basis of the choices made by the political actors.