Alternative thinking on governance: a critical analysis of structure and uncertainty in embedding good governance at the local level in Tanzania

  • Author / Creator
    Mgonja, Boniface Eliamini Samwel
  • One of the most challenging questions that a political comparativist can grapple with in today’s world is: Why do some countries and their systems of governance fail while others succeed? As a student of comparative politics, I have been grappling with a similar question for some time now: What is wrong with development initiatives in Africa? This is the major question motivating my research. In this dissertation, I apply a new institutional approach to an exploration and analysis of the fundamental institutional issues of the current local governance system in Tanzania. Specifically, this study investigates and reflects on the relationship between institutions and governance in local political settings and analyzes the impacts of institutional factors on good governance, particularly at the local level, in Tanzania. Of particular importance in this study is the precise analysis that I provide of contemporary governing practices in Tanzania since the inception of the Local Government Reform Program (LGRP) in 2000. This is used to compare current governing practices to the conceptions of how they were expected work after the end of the program in June 2008. I used documentary research to identify fundamental issues in local governance in Tanzania. From this checklist, a selected few of the problems, ones that are common to all local government authorities (LGAs), were chosen as the foci of the research. Then, in order to explore the relationship between the selected problems and the institutional framework, a case study of four LGAs in Tanzania was employed. I have argued in this dissertation that Tanzania’s development outcomes (good governance and reduction of systemic poverty) are greatly influenced by the country’s institutions of governance. However, my research findings show that the role of institutions that are deemed necessary for the achievement of local development goals and good governance in Tanzania has become severely simplified if not forgotten. Drawing on the discussions and findings of each chapter in this dissertation, I came to the conclusion that when the system of governance is malfunctioning, then something must be wrong with its institutional mechanisms. This is what I have described in this study as “alternative thinking on governance.”

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  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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  • Institution
    University of Alberta
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  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Wilson, Sam (Economics)
    • Urquhart, Ian (Political Science)
    • Harder, Lois (Political Science)
    • Smith, Patrick (Political Science, Simon Fraser University)
    • Aitken, Rob (Political Science)