Intra-party democracy is an element of participatory democracy that is widely perceived as being necessary for the development of a democratic culture in the wider society. This book examines the state of internal party democracy in East Africa with specific reference to how processes of institutionalisation, inclusiveness and (de)centralisation influence levels of participatory democracy. While debate continues on exactly how much internal democracy is good for political party effectiveness, there is some consensus on its usefulness in increasing participatory democracy in the wider society. The discussion draws on normative political theory developed largely from studies of political parties in western democracies. This paper seeks to determine if and to what extent these models are adequate for the study and analysis of African political parties and party systems. It concludes that whereas intra-party democracy is a desirable ideal, African political parties are products of distinct socio-economic and historical circumstances to which existing models do not fit wholly and need to be reviewed.