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Shaheen Mozaffar, "Introduction," Party Politics, 11 (July, 2005), 395-398.

First Paragraph:
Political parties have a long but checkered history in African countries.1 The first political party, the Whig Party, was established in 1860 in Liberia, the country founded by repatriated former slaves from the United States. After that, the African National Congress was founded in 1912 in South Africa followed by the Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) in 1921. Between 1921 and 1945, nine more parties were established in countries ranging from Senegal, Liberia, and Nigeria to Kenya, Malawi, Somalia, and Sudan. With the exception of the CPSA, which was established as an illegal party, these parties were established by small groups of African elites as the organized expression of their political demands for reforming the colonial system, gaining access to colonial governments and influencing colonial policy. Political parties emerged as the principal instruments of mass mobilization and nationalist struggles after 1945 when Britain and France, the two leading colonial powers in Africa, introduced major political reforms as part of their overall strategy of gradual decolonization.

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The articles adopt varied research strategies that range from broad systematic comparative studies (Mozaffar/Scarritt and Kuenzi/Lambright), to two-country comparison (Creevey/Ngomo/Vengroff), to theoretically grounded case studies (Piombo and Marcus/Ratsimbaharison). Moreover, besides examining important empirical issues about democratic transitions and the challenge of democratic consolidation in Africa, these articles also address important analytical issues in comparative analysis. Some explicitly (Mozaffar/Scarritt, Kuenzi/Lambright, and Piombo) and some implicitly (Creevey/Ngomo/Vengroff and Marcus/Ratsimbaharison) draw on the insights of comparative theory to highlight differences and similarities of African parties and party systems. Mozaffar/Scarritt and Kuenzi/Lambright, because of their broad comparative approach based on systematic data from across Africa, also highlight important similarities and differences in parties and party systems among African countries. In sum, these articles, even as they remain contextually sensitive, highlight and address larger theoretical issues in comparative analysis.