Succession Politics and State Administration in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe | Abstract
Review of Public Administration and Management

Review of Public Administration and Management
Open Access

ISSN: 2315-7844



Succession Politics and State Administration in Africa: The Case of Zimbabwe

Chikerema Arthur Fidelis*

The paper is a critical inquiry on the influence of succession politics on state administration in Africa, with reference to Zimbabwe. The paper unpacks the interactive boundaries and conceptual overlaps of succession politics and state administration in Africa. Power transition in any political landscape promotes the remodeling of the political architecture and the functionality of the governmental apparatus of the state. This is because government performance is an outcome of political processes and dynamics that influence governance in a polity. Political leadership determines the composition of administrative structure. In case of a transition, political leaders supplant the administrative apparatus, to ensure ideological compatibility. Regular transfer of executive power is the major test of stability in a nation’s political system. However, in many African countries, leaders have shown a consistent trajectory of amending state constitutions to prolong their stay in power. This study was based on eighteen qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with key informants using the purposive sampling technique, complemented by extensive document review. Respondents were drawn from Members of the Executive, Members of Parliament, think tanks, Politburo, Central Committee, opposition parties, bureaucracy/permanent secretaries in government of they ministries academia and civil society in Zimbabwe. The findings of the study show that succession politics in Africa resembles executive dominance, egocentrism, excessive appointive powers, compounded by lack of institutional framework of succession that undermines professional independence of the bureaucracy which inhibits the pursuit of comprehensive governance. The findings also unequivocally isolates Zimbabwe as a victim of political, societal and historical factors that exacerbates the succession dilemma. In its recommendations, the paper argues that the succession challenge faced by the continent with reference to Zimbabwe will always hound succession trends and responsive administration, unless broad based reforms are instituted to dismantle the historical legacies embedded in the political systems.

Published Date: 2021-06-29; Received Date: 2021-06-09