"We can't change things"
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A survey of popular attitudes to local governance in Njombe, Ludewa and Makete districts in rural Tanzania. Presented at the REPOA Annual Research Workshop, March 2012.

A survey of popular attitudes to local governance in Njombe, Ludewa and Makete districts in rural Tanzania. Presented at the REPOA Annual Research Workshop, March 2012.

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  • 1. “We can’t change things”A study on public attitudes to local governance in Njombe, Ludewa and MaketeFrank Kaduma, Ben Taylor, Kapongola Nganyanyuka REPOA Annual Research Workshop, March 2012www.daraja.org • PO Box 736, Njombe • 026 2782197 • daraja@daraja.org
  • 2. Outline• Background / Introduction• What does the literature tell us?• Study methodology• Findings and discussion• Conclusions and implications making local governance work for the poor
  • 3. Background / Introduction• “D by D” – Unfulfilled potential – New institutions are not created in a vacuum – Existing cultures, norms, beliefs, attitudes – A gap in our understanding making local governance work for the poor
  • 4. What does the literature tell us?• Why do attitudes matter? – “policies are developed by consultants, approved by donors, negotiated with local partners, and adopted in consultations with little understanding of how underlying power relations will affect the implementation of these policies” (Hyden, 2005) – Citizens’ primary experience of local government is of “violence” – aggression, insults, appropriation of resources (Brockington, 2007; 2008) – “cultures of governance” very influential in determining how new institutions function in practice (Taylor, 2006a;b;c) making local governance work for the poor
  • 5. What does the literature tell us?• Which attitudes matter? – Citizens’ expectations of LG roles – Citizens’ views on past performance of LG – Citizens’ experience of political engagement – Perceived legitimacy of particular actions – e.g. public protest, corruption, etc. – Perceptions on the value of democracy making local governance work for the poor
  • 6. Study Methodology• Primarily quantitative methods – hh survey (n=977), local leaders (n=120) – Drawing heavily on Afrobarometer questionnaire – Stratified (for urban / rural balance) random sample• Some qualitative methods – focus ground discussions – key informant interviews making local governance work for the poor
  • 7. Study Methodology• Location – Njombe region – Njombe town and district, Ludewa and Makete districts – Mixed urban (small town) and rural area – Not wealthiest, not poorest• Fieldwork timing – 2009-2010• Mobile phone-based data collection – Phones programmed with questionnaires (Episurveyor) – Data entered directly, transferred remotely to server – Big saving in time and cost of data entry and cleaning making local governance work for the poor
  • 8. Sample Characteristics• Njombe town 20%; district 43%; Ludewa 20%; Makete 18%• Urban 20%; Rural 80%• Young (15-34yrs) 35%; Adult (35-50) 48%; Elderly (>50) 17%• Unemployed 5%; Farmers 82%; Formal employment 13%• Very poor 23%; Poor 58%; less poor 19% (based on hh assets) making local governance work for the poor
  • 9. Findings and Discussion• Popular expectations of LG role – village level making local governance work for the poor
  • 10. Findings and Discussion• Popular expectations of LG role – LGA level making local governance work for the poor
  • 11. Findings and Discussion• Popular expectations of LG role – councillors making local governance work for the poor
  • 12. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions of LG roles: – Significant misunderstandings of the roles of various LG institutions – Past practice reflected more than institutional design – Councillors’ representative role recognised – to “bring development” / influence plans – But not their scrutiny role making local governance work for the poor
  • 13. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions of LG performance making local governance work for the poor
  • 14. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions of LG performance making local governance work for the poor
  • 15. Findings and Discussion Trust making local governance work for the poor
  • 16. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions of LG performance: – Confidence in LG actors declines with distance • Exception was trust in the President – Low levels of trust in NGOs, media, opposition parties, councillors making local governance work for the poor
  • 17. Findings and Discussion• Citizens’ engagement with LG processes – 40% active in community development / self-help groups – 23% in farmers’ groups / trade unions – 57% in church groups – Voting levels high – around 80% – Attending community meetings: 29% often; 26% several times; 22% once or twice; 18% never making local governance work for the poor
  • 18. Findings and Discussion• Legitimacy of various actions - demonstrations / raising voice – 79% rural, 80% urban said “would never attend a demonstration or protest” – 73% - “we should be more active in questioning leaders” – But 95% of village leaders making local governance work for the poor
  • 19. Findings and Discussion• Legitimacy of various actions – corruption making local governance work for the poor
  • 20. Findings and Discussion• Legitimacy of various actions – corruption – Low reported corruption in questionnaire – Very different picture in focus groups – Corruption reported as widespread, expected, disliked but unavoidable – Has become an accepted income of civil servants – Citizens have strong belief that they cannot do anything to curb corruption: • Situational pressure • Precedents of impunity • “We can’t change things” making local governance work for the poor
  • 21. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions on value of democracy: making local governance work for the poor
  • 22. Findings and Discussion• Perceptions on value of democracy: – 91% believe politicians never or rarely keep campaign promises – 93% believe politicians rarely do their best to “deliver development” after elections – Dissatisfaction with democratic processes in practice is very strong and clear making local governance work for the poor
  • 23. Conclusions and Implications• Citizens’ scepticism: on democracy, on their own ability to exert influence, on their ability to combat corruption• Low willingness to engage in protest• Higher performance ratings for closer leaders, suggests the core idea behind D by D is right• Corruption, expected but disliked making local governance work for the poor
  • 24. Conclusions and Implications• Obstacles to local accountability: – Councillors scrutiny role is not recognised – Low trust in key governance institutions – Citizens’ scepticism – “we can’t change things” – Vicious circle of impunity and powerlessness making local governance work for the poor
  • 25. Conclusions and Implications• Policy Measures: – Strengthen and extend public education on LG reforms – Concerted efforts on corruption – reducing opportunities, transparency, whistleblower protections• Actions by non-state actors: – Develop low risk tools for citizens’ agency making local governance work for the poor
  • 26. Asanteniwww.daraja.org • PO Box 736, Njombe • 026 2782197 • daraja@daraja.org