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Sometimes single case studies are restricted to a given nation-state, a region within a nationstate or a single town or village, and do not attempt to extent the validity of the research results to other areas. While this approach is able to produce interesting and detailed insights, the lack of comparability makes the single case approach prone to the production of artefacts. Things become even more complicated when we take the whole of Africa as our object of interest. What exactly do we mean when we speak of Africa?

In the postindependence era, African democracy, allegedly based on consensus rather than competition, served as a legitimation of single-party rule. Recent experiments, like the ‘no party-democracy’ under Museveni in Uganda, have revealed authoritarian tendencies. To properly cover both sides of this issue, we should not forget to mention the philosopher Kwesi Wiredu who has tried to present a more sophisticated attempt of conceptualising a consensual democracy as a suitable model for Africa. Unfortunately, his approach is equally problematic.

There are, for example, no reliable figures on party membership or the degree of members’ activities. However, the lack of data is not the only reason to reject an exclusively quantitative study. The interconnectedness of political parties and the society escapes a mere description in figures and percentages. If one is searching for relations and interconnections, it would be inadequate to concentrate on quantitative methods only. The application of a qualitative approach is therefore inevitable.

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