SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Larmer, Miles and Fraser, Alastair (2007) 'Of cabbages and King Cobra: populist politics and Zambia's 2006 election.' African Affairs, 106 (425). pp. 611-637.

Full text not available from this repository.


Zambia's 2006 election was won by incumbent President Levy Mwanawasa and his Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD). However, it is argued here that the most important outcome of the campaign was the successful articulation of a new populist politics by Michael Sata's Patriotic Front (PF), which won a significant majority in urban areas. Sata's attacks on foreign investors (particularly from China) for their abuse of the workforce and their supposedly corrupt relationship with the MMD resonated with urban Zambians, already angered by the negative impact of economic liberalization. PF's campaign injected popular social demands into what had become a moribund political debate. The MMD government is now adopting PF policies in an attempt to restore its own urban support base. The article describes the campaign and its outcomes, contrasting the political discourse of the MMD and PF and analysing the differences in voting behaviour between rural and urban Zambians. It argues that recent relief of 92 percent of Zambia's international debt, along with the renewed profitability of the copper mining industry, have created conditions for the re-emergence of a nationalist-developmental political framework.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 00019909
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2024 07:34

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item