Browsing articles in "Africa"
Apr 30, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Life in Dar es Salaam

Great new posts on life in Dar es Salaam!

JSM at Politics, Society, and Things examines the incentives of dala dala (mini bus) drivers in Dar es Salaam:

The Drivers of the dala dalas in Dar have only one incentive; to make more than TZS 100,000.00 a day. Yes, that is the sum total a dala dala driver is required to bring to his boss – the owner of the those ubiquitous little traveling machines…The dala dala driver knows he must hand over that bottom line figure each day in order for him to keep his job.  So to him nothing else matters, regardless of the consequences he will always race, slow down, over take or block other cars in order for him (and always a male) to get the next passenger, or in his mind the next opportunity to top off that TZS 100,000 for his own income.

The incentives are more perverse for long-distance drivers: they get paid by how quickly they complete their routes. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of bus crashes in Tanzania.

Elise at The Mikocheni Report alerts us to a new trend in rigging elections in Tanzania, buying voter registration information:

I have a “friend” who came by today…

Her local councillor had dropped by the neighborhood sometime before Easter to encourage voters to sign up for a rather novel program. Basically, anyone who wrote down their name and voter registration number on his sign-up sheet would get a t-shirt and other freebies ‘when the time comes.’

Maisha Bora kwa Kila Mtanzania, indeed!*

Finally, Lindsay at Dispatches finds A Tale of Two Cities right under her nose:

Two sets of people in one city [Dar es Salaam], side by side practically, living different lives. One goes to eat and get her nails done and works out at places with generators, so most of the time, she isn’t even aware of how fragile the power supply is in this town. The other spends her nights in the dark. One treats herself to a 15,000 shilling sandwich and coffee at the sleek, urbane Kempinski hotel, and pays 10,000 shillings for the cab ride home. The other spends 1,500 shillings on a lunch of bananas and rice, and 200 for the dala dala home. One wears pretty scarves that she bought in New York. The other cleans them. One rents an apartment on Dar’s peninsula for $1,500 a month, while the other pays a kind of rent to the guy who “runs” the slum where her and her children live, except she doesn’t think of it as a slum.

From her blog, I believe that Lindsay works at the World Bank. Thus, her job is to work for a World Free of Poverty. Lindsay could have a productive conversation with Elise and JSM about the reasons she is fighting an uphill battle to achieve that objective in Tanzania.

*”Maisha Bora kwa Kila Mtanzania” means “A better life for Every Tanzanian” in Kiswahili. It was the slogan of the ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), in the 2005 election.

Apr 28, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

FY 2011 US D&G Funding

Freedom House has recently released its analysis of the Obama Administration’s FY 2011 budget request for D&G programs (which the US Government calls Governing Justly and Democratically). Overall, it is a pretty good picture, although there are some troubling signs. Continue reading »

Apr 27, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

Failed argument

That “failed state” is a misleading term is a point that we have raised numerous times on this blog. Failed state does typically not mean anarchy, but failed modern sovereign state. To be cheeky, it means “why don’t you govern the way we [i.e., the developed world] want you to govern the boundaries we imposed on you without your consent?” To be cheeky and terse, it means “why don’t you govern the way the west wants you to govern?” Failed modern states often do provide security – hence making them a state in the theoretical sense – just in a different way than people with blue uniforms and badges. Their only failure is to live up to our expectations. Continue reading »

Apr 20, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

How the pros stuff ballot boxes

This is great.

Apr 18, 2010
Center for Democracy and Civil Society

New Report Challenges U.S. Military’s Use of Aid in Africa

Should the U.S. military use humanitarian and development aid to further its security interests?

As a U.S. Army Civil Affairs specialist, my whole job is based on the premise that the answer to this question is “yes.”  Civil Affairs soldiers use development projects and aid distributions – mostly on a small scale – to achieve a number of objectives, such as improving relations between the U.S. military and a local population, or enhancing the capacity and credibility of the host nation government. Continue reading »

Founded in 2004, Democracy and Society is a biannual print journal published by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. The D&S Blog provides web-only content, including special reports and investigative series, on issues relating to democracy and development.

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