What is the impact of access to political party finance – money that parties use to fund their campaign activities – on politics in Africa? While multiparty elections have become more regular in the developing world, many opposition parties are still failing to win elections. This paper argues that poor access to political finance weakens democratic consolidation and negatively impacts the participation of less-resourced candidates who are unable to self-fund. As a result, opposition parties are forced to rely on weak promises of aid from international donors and unreliable state funding. This in-depth analysis of political finance, based on extensive interviews with politicians and government officials in Zimbabwe, political documents, news reports, and a review of court cases, reveals that uneven financing has weakened opposition parties and serves as an extra advantage for incumbents.