Political party financing in Zambia: exploring sources, transparency and accountability

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Daka, Adam
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University of Zambia
Today, it is almost inconceivable to have a functioning democracy without political parties. Political parties perform important functions without which representative democracy could not exist. For political parties to remain relevant to the democratic dispensation, they need finances in order to run their day to day party activities. The financing of political parties is a key issue for ensuring good governance world over. Therefore, the study investigated political party financing in Zambia by exploring sources, transparency, and accountability. The objectives of this study were to establish the sources of funding for political parties, to establish the challenges that political parties face as they source for funds, to examine the extent to which political parties ensure transparency and accountability in the management of finances and establish mechanisms which political parties employ in reporting their financial transactions. The research was qualitatively conducted using a descriptive survey design. The study was influenced by mass membership theory promulgated by Duverger (1954) which stated that, “the more members a political party has, the more volumes of money”. The target population included four Executive Directors of four Civil Society Organisations; four Presidents; four Secretary Generals; four Treasurer Generals of political parties; and the Registrar of Societies in Zambia. This research was conducted in Lusaka District of Lusaka Province. The findings of this study suggest that political parties mostly raised their funds through membership fees, contributions from well-wishers, fundraising ventures and funding by the state. The study also revealed that political parties raise their finances through contributions from members of parliament and ministers. It was also clear that most political parties are only accountable to themselves and not to the public. Mechanisms such as financial reports, the opening of bank accounts and adherence to the party constitution provisions are employed by political parties to report their financial transactions. The study strongly recommends that the government should put in place a legal framework that will compel political parties to disclose their sources of funding and how the funds are spent.
Masters of Education in Civic Education
Political parties-Zambia , Politics and Government—Zambia