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‘Bad Governance’ And The Persistence Of Alternative Political Arenas: A Study Of A Tanzanian Region

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Chapter Summary

The main ?problem? administrators found with their intermediaries was not necessarily harmful for local people: it was their failure to collect taxes. This chapter argues that administrators tended to insinuate a conservative, ?anti-developmental? bent in local society partly to deflect from their own failures and pragmatic compromises. In their formulaic communications, ?bad governance? among African intermediaries often made a convenient excuse. The chapter is based on archival records, mostly from the Tanzanian National Archives in Dar es Salaam (TNA), and three tours of interviews in the region, in 2000, 2003, and 2004. It charts ruptures as well as continuities in the problems faced and methods used by several generations of local leaders in Southeast Tanzania. The chapter concludes that while villagers struggle to participate in political processes within arenas defined by state institutions, they also continue to pursue a polycentric, informal political practice at the local level.

Keywords: Administrators; African intermediaries; bad governance; local society; political arenas; Southeast Tanzania; state institutions; taxes; villagers



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