The centralization of authority

So today we’re talking about the centralization of authority and the rise of what’s called in the literature personal rule in Africa.So the independence era in Africa, which is the early 19 sixties, was a time of really tremendous optimism. There was a profound sense of achievement, of course, at what had been won. There was a sense of satisfaction for having achieved independence. There was, of course, a recognition that there were very big tasks ahead. But there was also a lot of confidence that these tasks could be, could be tackled. This was also a time of tremendous optimism and confidence around the world. The prolonged post-World War Two, prosperity was really at its height. By the early 19 sixties, it appeared that Keynesian economic theory had somehow tamed the business cycle. And we weren’t going to be going through periods of boom and bust like we had in the Great Depression and the 130s. And Western Europe had largely recovered from the ravages of World War II. So in short, things looked very, very bright. But in roughly ten short years, much of this optimism in Africa had dimmed and it was replaced by a really profound pessimism about the future of the continent. It was replaced by a lot of cynicism about the leaders who had emerged to take power after independence. And there was mounting evidence even ten years after independence of economic failure and stake decay. And so the purpose of the next set of lectures, the next two or three lectures, is going to be tracing the reasons for this decay. And today what I wanna do is I want to start by identifying some of the key challenges that faced African leaders in the immediate period right after independence. And then I want to start developing an argument.And the argument is that the response that African leaders took to these challenges, which was to centralize political power. That, that set the stage for many of the qualities of African government and much of the decay and much of the cynicism and much of the economic failure that ultimately took hold roughly a decade after independence was won. And so tracing that decay and that failure is then going to be the subject next several weeks of lectures. So this lecture is a really important one because it talks about the emergence of a mode of politics, a mode of political behavior by African leaders that I think is really responsible for the decay we saw after independence. Okay? As we’re going to learn, there was this period of decay and then things have started to get, and in fact have gotten much better. But there is a trough. And the origins of that trough, I believe lie in a series of decisions that were made in the, in the period right after independence. Okay? But I want to start by talking about the challenges of state and nation building after independence, okay? So one of the things I stressed last week was that a very important mobilization tool that leaders used when they were trying to drum up support for the anti-colonial protest movements was the promise of better living standards. If somehow we Africans could seize control of the polities that we live in. Ok? And this led to what I call a nationalist bargain. Basically a quid pro quo,whereby regular citizens gave support to the independence struggle. They follow the leaders in return for a set of expected benefits that they were promised they would receive after independence was won. And as a consequence of this nationalist bargain, African governments after independence faced very, very big expectations. People expected higher standards-of living, right? They expected access to education. They expected access to jobs. They expected improved health care. They expected improvements in infrastructure. They expected order and stability. All of these things that the nationalist leaders I had promised, they would be able to deliver once they control the leavers of political power in an independent state.Well now the head independence and now the bill was due. Okay? And so to deliver on these promises, African governments had to use the state that they now controlled in a very activist manner, right? If they wanted to make good on their promise to expand education and health care, they needed to somehow build hospitals and build schools and staff them with people who had been trained as teachers and doctors and nurses. They needed to build universities, right? In order to deliver jobs. They had to expand the civil service. The civil service is like this whole reservoir of jobs that the government controls. Okay? They needed to expand it. So they had jobs to distribute to make good on their promise of jobs for people. Part of this involved what was called African Ising, the civil service, replacing the Europeans who had occupied civil service positions with black Africans. Ok. Another part of it was taking control of enterprises and companies. So that those companies and enterprises could then be RE, staffed by Africans who having been re staff there would now have jobs.And that would make good on the promise to provide jobs. Okay? To make good on the promise of building roads and other infrastructure and bridges and airports and that sort of thing. They had to seize land. They had to mobilize capital, they had to mobilize labor to bring order and stability. They had to build a police force, expand the military. Ok. So a huge set of tasks requiring a very activist, Strong, efficient state. But the problem was, they didn’t have a very strong efficient state. They didn’t have the administrative capacity to be able to carry out these tasks. And so before they could actually carry out these tasks, which they needed to carry out to make good on the promises they had made in the course of the independence struggle. They had to build up existing administrative capacity. Remember the colonial apparatus that the new leaders took hold of when power was ceded to them after independence was minimal, it often penetrated very little beyond the major ports in the major towns. Remember, the colonial government had resisted the kind of big development projects that the independent leaders had promised precisely so that they could keep the State Small and so that they could keep the costs down. Remember the revenue imperative?The implication of the revenue imperative was that the colonial state was very small and it didn’t do very much, right? And so the capacity of the state that the new leaders inherited after independence was really minimal. And it wasn’t capable in its present form of meeting this new activist agenda. And so a first task was to try to build up the state. Ok, that was a really key thing. Equally important, I would argue is building state capacity was building a sense of national identity. So for a state to work, people have to identify it. Citizens have to come to think of the state as part of us, as representing us, not as they or them, not as some foreign entity that was put on top of us to rule us. They have to come to identify with it as part of their national community. Okay? I mean, it’s okay if citizens questioned the wisdom of what their government does. But it’s not OK for questions to, for, for citizens to question the right of the government to make decisions on their behalf. Okay? And in the colonial era, all of the energy was put towards questioning the right of the government to make decisions on behalf of Africans. And now you had a different set of people populating the government, but people had to come to learn to embrace the state as representing them.Okay? Of course, building that kind of national identity isn’t easy in an African context. You’ll remember African states were demarcated arbitrarily. There was very little to join people together. You had lots of different people lumped into a single state, right? Remember this image from an earlier lecture? This picture really sums up a major part of the challenge of nation-building, right? The units with which people identified prior to colonialism were the cultural or ethnic communities, right? Traditional homelands, traditional ties. And you can see that the boundaries of those traditional ties, those identity groups predated colonialism, which are given by the black polygons, are not coinciding with the boundaries of contemporary states which are given by the red polygons. Okay? So when you think about the disconnect between these, you can think of them as natural communities where people feel a sense of identity. And these new nation states as a huge disconnect. And you want to keep that image in your mind when you think about the challenge of building a sense of national identity that is identifying with the red polygon rather than the black polygon that you’re located within. Ok. There was a very brief history that people had under colonialism.After the time that the boundaries of the present states were drawn in which they felt themselves or even we’re a part of a common entity. And that common entity was very weak. Ok. Now, as I suggested in previous lectures, the struggle for independence did foster some national identification, right? And part of it came via the mobilizing machines that were built by political leaders, which as I said in either the last lecture or the one before that, were all built to try to mobilize people along national lines or along colony wide lines to be able to fight for control of the colony, which then became after independence the nation. Ok. And so in, in that book that I quoted from the last lecture, Zambia shall be free. Kenneth calendar wrote at meetings up and down the country. He’s writing about the time when he was mobilizing against colonial rule. He wrote at meetings up and down the country. I repeatedly stressed the need for a well lubricated party political machine. Every single member of the party must be kept in constant, in close touch with party headquarters. The party must become the trusted mouthpiece of all the people so that each and everyone would be ready to suffer if necessary together in the cause of freedom, this kind of solidarity, he writes, now in hindsight, after independence, this kind of solidarity was even more necessary after independence had been achieved. Okay? But the problem is during colonialism, building that kind of solidarity was easier because everybody could, could rally against a common enemy, the British colonial state or the French colonial state or the Belgian colonial state right?After independence, there was no external enemy. And once the external enemy was gone, the impetus for a set of common bonds, or a common bond, a single common bond dissipated. Okay? And so the point is African leaders after independence really faced a twofold challenge. Okay? They needed to undertake state building. That is, construct an administrative apparatus that could create order and put them in a position to provide badly needed and long promised public services, education, health roads, that sort of thing. And they also needed to end, to embark on an enterprise of nation building, which was creating a national identity out of the disparate peoples who happened to find themselves within the state’s borders. Ok? And these are really momentous tasks there, momentous under any circumstances. But they were made more difficult by two factors. One, the enormous expectations that were generated during the independence struggle. And second, weak institutions inherited from the colonial regimes, right? Another factor that made it really challenging to build this sense of national identity and build it and build a strong state was the legacy of highly oppositional, the legacy of a highly oppositional independence movement itself. Remember, the nationalist movement, the nationalist struggle taught people how to sabotage the state, how to resist identifying with it, right? So here is a pro-independence political rally in Lusaka, Zambia in 1962, just before independence. At the bottom of the screen is a protest in Algiers where residents are confronting French colonial tanks. Okay? So what do you learn in an anti-colonial struggle? You learn how to resist, you learn how to sabotage, right? You learn how to fight against political power. Articulating dissatisfaction is really, really good for overthrowing a regime. It’s a powerful tool. It’s not so good if you want to stay in power. And so keeping discontent within bounds, keeping it from being turned against the new rulers was a key problem. And this is a kind of of mobilization that had just worked and it hit and promoted by the leaders who now wanted to put the genie back in the bottle. Because now that excellent ability to mobilize and resist and to resist identifying with the state now could potentially be used against them. Okay, so what was the answer? Given these challenges? Will the answer, or at least the answer that the strategy that was pursued again and again in country after country was to try to centralize power. Ok? Now, in two ways, there are, there are in principle to different ways in which political power could be centralized. You could centralize it, the person of the leader or in the ruling party. Or you could centralize it in the institutions of government. That is in the Constitution, in the parliament, in the office of the president, rather than in the person of the president. And so if you centralize power through institutions, then the formal constitutional rules of the game are what determine the limits of power and define the boundaries of what a leader can do. Right? In the United States, the Constitution reigned supreme, Right? The President isn’t office holder. The office of the presidency is bigger than the person who occupies the Office of the President. The President’s legitimacy stems from the office that he or she occupies, which in turn stems from the Constitution which defines that office, right? One of the biggest objections to our current president, Donald Trump is that he’s weakening these norms. He is trying to put himself as the source of authority. Whereas authority has historically in the United States, always been vested in the institutions. The institutions are bigger than the person who occupies the presidency rather than the other way around.And one of the big critiques of Donald Trump is he’s trying to push back against that and make himself the person more important than the institutions that historically have constrained the person in his position. Ok? So that’s what happens when power is centralized institutions. And I see this in the chat. The answer to the questions in the chat is power can be centralized either in the person of the leader or in the institutions of the state. Okay? So I’ve talked about what happens when power is centralized through institutions. So what happens when power is centralized and the leader? Well, in that situation, there might be a constitution, right? There might be a set of laws that at least formally put limits on the leader’s power. But the leader determines the relevance of the Constitution and the relevance of these laws, right? He might abide by their provisions or he might ignore them as he sees fit. And in that situation, power isn’t just centralized, it’s personalized. So we talk about personal rule, right? And the idea that power is centralized in the person of the leader is, or until recently has been the norm in Africa. The leader comes first and the office comes second. Now, later in the course, we’re going to consider some evidence that this is beginning to change. But for most of the period that we’re going to be discussing over the next couple of weeks. That was really the story. A power centralized in the person of the president rather than the institutions of the presidency. And for reasons that I will develop over the course of this lecture and the lectures to come that has really been hugely consequential. Okay? So when power was concentrated in Africa, after independence, it was concentrated in the executive and in the person who happened to occupy the Executive at that time, right? Virtually all the new states that were born in Africa, starting in the 19 sixties, were born with mechanisms that were at least formerly on the books to limit or disperse or to check executive power. So almost all the former colonies in Britain were given British style constitutions. There’s like a hand over here you go. Here’s a rule book for how to organize yourselves. And almost all the former French colonies got French style constitutions, right? And those constitutions, both the French and the British, British ones, had balances. They had limits, they had checks on the power of the executive. But in the majority of countries in Africa, these mechanisms were simply removed within the first few years after independence, ten of the 13 former British colonies, and nine of the ten former French colonies had become authoritarian presidential regimes or military dictatorships within a few years after independence.So what that meant was that opposition parties were banned, regional or local governments were scrapped, and power was centralized in the national government with the President at the apex. Parliaments existed on paper, but they were undermined and weren’t really very powerful against the overarching power, the executive. Even in many cases, the ruling party itself, which could be a countervailing institution vis-a-vis the President, the person. In many cases, the ruling party became just an empty shell, little more than a vehicle for the President. And rule by decree or rule by de facto decree. With parliamentary formalities, you know, the President would decrease something and then parliament would simply follow suit. And formerly passed whatever legislation or decree the president wanted. But it was really the President who was the power holder. The parliament was just a rubber stamp thatreally became the norm in country after country. And so the president became paramount. And in short, what emerged is what African scholars refer to as personal rule. Okay? So I want to talk about the characteristics of personal rule, but before I do, let me pause and see if there any questions about about any of this. I mean, in a nutshell, the argument I’ve made is that there were big promises made before independence. That meant that the later two took power after independence, felt great pressure to deliver on those promises. The problem is they were bequeathed a very weak state and a very weak nation. And so they had to do something to be able to give themselves the power to be able to make good on these promises.And their response in country after country was to centralize power. Once they decided that was the response, the question is, how do you centralize power? Do you centralize it in the institutions of the government or in the person of the president. And again and again, that decision was the ladder to centralize power in the person of the President. And what emerged was something called personal rule. Jenny, Any, any accumulated questions that I should try to answer before I move on is actually not that many. Question about how presidents are chosen after independence. Yeah, that’s a good one. You usually what happened was in the independence struggle. There was one liter, sometimes a handful of leaders, but usually there was a first among equal, even when there was a group who really became the spokesperson, the, the face of the independence movement. And so in country after country, that person who really led the anti-colonial protests was just the obvious choice to then become the president. And so I’ll talk about some of these people. And in every single case, in almost every case, they were the person who was sort of the public face of the independence movement. They were the ones who were imprisoned because they were the leader of the anti-colonial protest movements. They were the ones who sat down and negotiated with the British or the French about the handover. And it was in almost every case just that it was kind of obvious who would be the Who would be the person who would take over? Your next question is about mechanisms of taxation. Personnel. Yeah, so the same kinds of pressures to raise money and keep cost down were felt after independence by the leaders who took power from the British and French and Portuguese, right? Any leader or the thing that keeps you up at night is, how do I raise money so that I can fund the state, right? The difference or a big difference was that under colonialism, the decision was to try to balancethat balance sheet largely by keeping cost down. So you didn’t have to raise that much money. After independence, there were such enormous needs and such demand to make good onthe promise to address those needs. That leaders after independence required far, far more in the war, in the way of resources to be able to make good on the promises they had made inthe independence struggle, right? And so their incentive to try to use the state to extract resources, to be able to then use the state to provide goods and services that they had promised was even stronger than in the colonial era where the decision was just, it’ll be really costly to provide education, healthcare, and infrastructure. And so let’s just not do it. Leaders after independence felt enormous pressure to do it. And that meant they felt even greater pressure perhaps than the colonial leaders did to try to raise the resources to make that possible. Are there any examples of governments are strong enough checks and balances? Are that first of all, that’s a good question. The problem is once you put power in the hands of a leader, that a single leader through a personal rule sort of system, that leader has every incentive to resist the chipping away of his power by putting in place checks and balances against his rule.When you start seeing this happening in the 990s. And we’ll talk about this later in the course. Part of it is because of outside pressure. Part of it is from bottom-up pressure from citizens who were demanding constraints on leaders. But I can’t think of any examples where leaders after independence voluntarily agreed to constrain their power. Insignificant ways. I mean, it’s really hard when you’ve got lots of people demanding lots of different things and you really need to get stuff done. It’s just easier if you don’t have to deal with an opposition, right? The problem is once you are that in power and you don’t have an opposition, There’s nobody to keep you in line if you start behaving in ways that are not delivering what people want. And so there’s this gradual slip into deeper authoritarianism that happens again and again. Okay? Okay. Let me pause with the questions there and continue on because I’ve got a bunch I want to say about personal rule and then about what we call patrimonial MSM. Okay? So personal role is this thing that emerged. And there are really two key aspects to personal rule. The first is the centrality, of course, of the leader, right? The leader in a personal rule system is not only the head of state, but also the chief political and military and cultural figure in the country, right? He is the head of government. He is also the commander of the armed forces. He’s the head of the governing party. If there is a governing party. And often he’s even the chancellor of the country’s main university. Okay? And so the whole aim is to make the liter synonymous with the nation, to identify the leader with the nation. And so one way of, or one, a bit of evidence for the ways in which African leaders really tried hard in order to make themselves synonymous with the nations that they were ruling is in the names and the titles that they gave themselves. Okay? And so in rough order of increasing ridiculousness, We have here Julius near array of Tanzania,who took the title of Mali, move, Molly move in Swahili means the teacher. Okay. We have here Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya. Who took the name MSI, which means the wise old man, right? So he’s not just near array and Kenyatta. They weren’t just like mister president. They were the teacher, the one that and by implication all the other citizens were the students.There’s kind of a hierarchy to a knowledgeable person or like in Kenyatta case, the wise old man. Someone who is revered for their knowledge, their judgment, and someone to whom and traditional society, you should differ and pay respect to OK. president Felix who flip 10E of Coty var, took the title, The number one peasant. Edema of Togo took the title, the guide, right? He wasn’t just the teacher or the wise old man. He was the guide, almost like a religious kind of connotation to it. Mobutu, Zaire, and they’re getting more ridiculous now.Also, like a edema took the title of the guide, but he also took the title of the Father of the Nation, the savior of the people, and the great strategist. Okay. Teodoro and Grandma of Equatorial Guinea, very modestly asked that he be referred to as the National miracle, the Grand Master of Education, Science, and Culture, right? So these aren’t just titles, these are titles that are meant to give the President almost a godlike, all powerful aura. And that’s part of the key personal rule. This isn’t just like the president who happens to be occupying the office for the next four years. This is the father of the nation, the guide, the, the great strategist, the miracle, the person in whom all of us need to trust AND with whom we need to identify, right? And then at the far end of the spectrum of ridiculousness or, or of, and maybe ridiculousness is not the right word, but the far end of the spectrum in terms of trying to create a persona about yourself, was Bokassa of the Central African Republic, who crowned himself emperor of that country. And here are some photos of Bokassa in all of his regalia standing on his, his great throne. Ok. So there is this sense that under personal role, the leader is like this omnipotent, almost god-like above human figure, who by virtue of those powers, is just so unquestionably the ruler that we just have to obey them. Okay? So in countries where personal role is the norm, the physical presence of the leader is, is just omnipresent. It’s kind of like big brother in Orwell’s 1984. And so you will see, or you would see in African countries at this time. The picture of the President placed plastered on public walls and on billboards. His portrait hangs in shops and even in private homes. It’s kind of de rigueur to have a portrait up on the wall of the President. His face was on the money. So here is a captcha note from Zambia with Kenneth count. Here is a ten shilling note from Uganda with the dictator Idi Amin. There’s 50 thousand. I’m not sure the units of Zaire was the unit in in in Zaire with Maputo. And there’s a 500 shilling note with Daniel arab boy, the President of Kenya. Ok. So their faces on the money. It’s not like the United States where the faces on the money are dead presidents who were being honored. These are all living presidents whose faces are put on the money as a way of demonstrating their centrality to the nation, their identification with the nation. Ok. And it’s not only on money, it’s also on postage stamps. Here are postage stamps with Saqqara and Mugabe and Bongo and bonded and Kenyatta. All on the postage stamps. You see it on other kinds of money. You also see it uncertain gay cloth that men and women will fashion clothing from. So these are just examples of in the top-left women wearing shutting gay with, I believe it’s, it’s, I can’t see who that is. But anyway, at some political figure and the political party symbol, you see in the bottom left a beautiful shirt with Mobutu on it. And then you see in on the right in the black and white photo, this guy has made himself a shirt with levy mono, also the president of Zambia as face on it. And these are all made out of this cloth that’s ubiquitous in many parts of Africa. That is the main thing that women will wrap around their waist as clothing. And oftentimes it’s got the president’s face on their bum. Okay? So schools, hospitals, street stadiums are named after the president. Or if they’re not named after him the reattributed to his, to his wisdom. So here is this remarkable article I found from the ACRL Evening News from 1963. And it’s basically an article showing all of this incredible infrastructure that had been built in Ghana after independence by the new government. Remember gonna got its independence that was second in Africa in 1957. So this is already six years later. And so the arrow is pointing to a photograph of Kwame Nkrumah circle. And the print which you can’t quite read says, this picture makes you feel proud that you belong to present, to present, gone up to present day Ghana, which Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is building this spot as well as many others in Accra and upcountry, makes us feel proud of our leader,the far-seeing man of Africa, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Okay. And what I’ve circled up on the top left is a line that says this is in Uganda that Kwame Nkrumah is building as if he’s out-there laying the bricks himself. Or this is, the other thing that’s circled is aerial views of a cra in the era of increment ism. That’s another thing that you find a lot, is the president.Becomes an ism, like qi is a religion that at which he is the center. And this is taken to its extreme here. This is a postcard from 1960 that’s an quit equating and chroma with Jesus, right? Isn’t chroma the Prime Minister? And Jesus is saying, well done, well done, good and faithful servant. Ok. And that line CQI first, the political kingdom and the rest will be added unto you. That’s of course from the Bible, but it was something that in chroma said that I talked about in the last lecture. Okay? And then what this little marker here says is, this is a postcard of a Nkrumah and Christ. Nkrumah standing alongside a, I can’t read that. Something of Christ postcards like this are being sold at markets throughout Ghana. While reports indicate the emergence of a new cult involving the semi mystical worship of Nkrumah as a messiah. Nkrumah ism is said to be a great philosophy due to replace Christianity in the 20th century. Okay. So it’s not only this, I mean, if you turn on the news, the mass media in a personalised regime is just full of stories about the President’s actions, no matter how insignificant. The top of the news, the front page of every newspaper is just reporting what the president says. And so David Lamm, who was a longtime, I believe, LA Times reporter in Africa, wrote a book, withdrawal. Reporters who spent time in Africa do when they retire and get moved to another post. And in his book, he describes being in Kinshasa, in Zaire and turning on the television one night. And I’d let me read to you what what he says he saw when he turned on the television. He says, the television scream fills with an image of heavenly clouds. Acquire of voices swells in the background. The music grows louder as the clouds drift apart. And there emerges the face of a man, dark and handsome, a leopard skin cap, gently on his head. His gaze is steady and the faintest trace of a smile crosses his lips. The camera zooms in and holds for what seems like a very long time. On the face. It speaks of strength, compassion, and wisdom. Words are uttered. What the viewer knows immediately is that this is no mere mortal, no, indeed, it’s Mobutu assess a psycho, a political survivor whose name translates roughly as the all powerful warrior who by his endurance and will to win, goes from conquest to conquest, leaving fire in his wake. And this is the start of the eight o’clock TV news in Kinshasa. Okay. That gives you a sense of how much the whole country, the news, everything revolves around the person of the president. Now Mobutu was probably the poster child for this kind of a personal rule. Or a president who was put up on a pedestal like that. But I think he is indicative of the way in which many rulers in Africa in, after independence sort of presented themselves. In his memoir about Mobutu. One of Mobutu is former prime ministers in Guizhou. Carry Bond wrote the following. He says nothing is possible in Zaire without Mobutu, he created Zaire. He grew the trees and the plants. He brings rain and good weather. You don’t go to the toilet without the authorization of LA GUID. That was, remember Mobutu whose name? Zaire and there would be nothing without him. Mobutu has obligations to nobody, but everybody has obligations to him. As he said to me on August 13th, 1977, in front of three witnesses and goes, there’s nothing I have to do for you. On the contrary, I have made you whatever you are. Okay? So that’s really the core of what personal rule is really about. Okay. Let me stop sharing. Okay, so that’s really the first aspect of personal role, that everything revolves around the person of the president. The second key aspect of personal rule is that the essential activity of the whole political system involves gaining access to patronage, right? There may not be a lot of competition for the presidency because the president is just axiomatically the father of the nation. Nobody else could fill those shoes. But there’s lots and lots of elite competition for the positions below the President from which patronage can be derived. Okay? And so the whole reservoir of state offices, that is Ministries, directorships of Paris,stable companies and so forth. They form a pool of pre bends which attract loyalty and service. And all of the posts in which people, from which people can extract resources from the state to redistribute to themselves and to others. All of those posts are held at the pleasure of the ruler who can revoke them or jail the person at anytime. And so, and this is something that shovel into laws emphasized in the reading you did for today’s lecture. Office holders are reminded again and again of the precariousness of their tenure in these state positions thatthe President has put them in. And they’re reminded of this by being frequently rotated, right? And so the leader casts himself in a patriarchal role. He’s the adjudicator who stands above the fray of the competition, juggling vying factions, pitting rivals against one another to fortify his own power all while portraying himself as the father figure right above the fray. And that’s really the genius of the successful personal ruler. You’ve got all sorts of jockeying for political power. At the level below the leader. Nobody questions the leader himself, but the leader uses the positions of power that he controls below him to keep everybody in line and constantly having them competing and he manipulates the whole process.Ok. The British historian, John’s lawn, that John Lonsdale, I was at a conference with them a couple years ago and he told me this great anecdote, a visiting the office of Daniel arab boy, who was then the president of Kenya or at the time Lorenzo, if it’s entered his office, he was the president of Kenya. And the only wall chart and the office showed the whole administration of the country like a family tree with the President at the top. But it was set up so the names of the current office holders could all be easily changed or removed. It was kind of like a whiteboard with the names of all the office holders in like like magnet tiles. And so you could kind of move them around. And it was this perfect illustration of how politics work that moist saw himself as the top. His name was written in ink, you couldn’t move it. And he was constantly moving all of these political actors around from position to position so as to control them. So as to reinforce the idea that he was the one on top, he was the one in power n so as to give them a taste of power or to take them out of power and make them beholden to him. Okay? A successful African leader, it during this year able, in any case is a, is a masterful politician or the successful, the most successful of these personal rulers were really masterful politicians. In Mobutu is leadership in Mobutu. Mobutu was really typical of this. Young and Turner who wrote this great book about Mobutu. Describe it this way. They say Mobutu tied clients to himself by favors and expectations of favors and drop them whenever their stature or power acquired features that seem to give them independence of maneuver, right? So you move people around. But if one of your minister seems like they’re developing a power base and becoming threatening to you. You demote them, you put them in jail, you move them to a less powerful ministry. Okay. Blaine Harden, another one of these journalists who spent time in Africa and then wrote a book,captures this, this logic of circulating elites very well. He writes, conventional wisdom, has it that besides Mobutu and his family, there are 80 people who count in Zaire at any one time. 20 of them are ministers, 20 of them are exiles, 20 are in jail, and 20 are ambassadors. And every three month the music stops and Mobutu shuffles them all around again.Alright? And that I think captures really, really well the, the nature of, of how the systems worked. Okay? Remember though, that the key to this whole model of governance is the requirement that the big man, the President at the top of this system, controls wealth and power. And that the clients, in this case of, of, of Mobutu, these AT other people who matter, right? That they derive their wealth and their power from him. Ok? There are lots and lots of scenes in a man of the people, the Chevy novel that you’re reading that echo the steam. So in fact, the readings this week in this lecture is really, really critical as a source of insights for the man of the people novel as you read it. Okay? So the key to the whole system andwhat makes this system, this kind of a system distinct from systems of governance in richer countries that are not as personalized, is that it doesn’t rest on established constitutional rules and practices. In fact, it depends on the absence or the weakness of established constitutional rules and practices, right? The formal rules of the game that you might find written down in a constitution or in the laws. They simply don’t govern political behavior. And the real norms that affect political and administrative action come from things like friendship or kinship, or factional alliance, or shared membership in a cultural or ethnic community, right? As Jackson and Rothberg, who literally, literally wrote the book on personal rule, they wrote a book literally call a personal rule. And black Africa. They stress that what an actor must do in this kind of a system is more strongly affected by particularistic norms. That is, Obligations and attachments to friends and Kin and factional allies and klansmen AND ethnic fellows, then by state rules and regulations, right? This is also Peter echoes point about the dual, dual publics, right? That what matters are your ties to your kin, your ties to your cultural community, not the rules that govern what you and an administrative office are supposed to be doing with the power you hold by virtue of being in that office. Okay. So aka comes in again. Again, we read ECA because he really captures something deep and important. And related to all this. What an actor can do on behalf of his kin, his primordial public is a function of the resources at his disposal, and that in turn is a function of the office that he occupies. But the office that he occupies is a function of his proximity to the leader. The closer you are, the better position you’ll get, right? And so again, what matters is your connection to the person, to the President, okay? And so when a system is organized this way, it naturally generates a patronage system. And what determines your access to patronage.And that’s jobs, resources, money from the state, right? What determines your access to patronage is your tie to the big man, that is the President. And what determines the closeness ofthat TI is often your shared family connection or oftentimes more broadly, shared ethnicity with the President. And we’ll have a lot more to say about this in lecture when we specific two lectures. In fact, when we specifically talk about ethnicity. Now there’s an interesting aspect of a system like this that I just want to mention. And it is that leaders become more secure over time. Personal rule for it to work requires the development of political networks and power bases, right? Political leaders are very vulnerable at the beginning of their rule,but they become more secure with the passage of time as they develop these power bases and develop these tentacles of personal ties. And so there’s lots of examples in Africa of, on the one hand, very rapid turnover of leaders. So between 19601970, benign had something, had 11 lead, not something like they had 11 different leaders with just one coud out after another. Ok. On the other hand, Africa is full of all sorts of examples of presidents who stayed in power for very, very long periods of time. Ok? So to give you some examples. To give you some examples, this gentleman, Paul BIA of Cameroon, he became the prime minister of Cameroon in 1975. And he’s still ruling. He’s been in power for 44 years. This man. Omar Bongo was the leader in get ball for 42 years from 1967 when Gabon got its independence until 2009. This gentleman here, Teodoro Obiang, was for 41 years from 1979 until the present, the leader of Equatorial Guinea, Dennis so-so and gesso was the president of Congo for 36 years. Yeah, remove 70. Oh wait, I’m sorry. I must have missed someone. Sorry. The first guy is Omar Bongo. The second is Obiang from Equatorial Guinea. The third is a edema. Then the gentleman in front of a pink flowers is pink flowers must be a Edema. In Guiso, Sapienza. Guiso is this last person that you saw. Because that guy I recognize this is Yoweri Museveni, who’s been the President of Uganda for 34 years since he took power on the back of a rebel group in 1986. Omar al-Bashir was the president in Sudan for 29 years. He was finally forced out just last year. Hastings Banda was the president of Malawi for 28 years. I mean, the length of rule of these leaders is really truly incredible. Hoof way B1 yeas tenure in office corresponded with eight US presence. Okay. And he wasn’t even the longest serving of these presidents that I mentioned. And so we have in this montage, hopefully B100, shaking hands at the White House with Dwight Eisenhower. There he is with with Johnson. I didn’t, I couldn’t find a picture. We haven’t with Kennedy, We haven’t with Nixon, we haven’t with Bush. I couldn’t find a picture of him with Reagan, although I know he did visit the White House in 1983. So there’s a picture of him with Nancy Reagan, okay. Or he’s in the background. At any rate, the point is, these heaters stay in power forever compared to, for example, presidents in the United States. Okay? And so that raises the question, what’s the secret to their longevity, right? Well, it turns out that once you control for colonial experience, economic growth, degree of ethnic conflict, and characteristics of the leaders themselves.The whole set of things that social scientists would say might plausibly explain a leader’s longevity. It turns out that the best predictor of whether a leader will lose power in any given year is the length of rule up to that point. The longer you’ve been in power, the greater the likelihood that you’re still going to be in power the next year. Alright? Power begets power.Okay? And that’s because of the importance of networks and power bases. Okay, let me pause there and see if we have any questions I can looks from the trap like we probably probably do. Yes, so few. So this is a direct quote. So didn’t we say that leaders are trying to direct attention of their people towards the nation’s creating. It says nationalism and not right, okay, so. Why are they suddenly putting emphasis on cheese and keyboard and their ethnicity, their original goal, this, sir. Yeah, so trying to create a sense of national identity is a very important tool for trying to create a countrywide anti-colonial movements, right? You want the whole nation to be pushing against the leaders of the whole nation. But once you come into power, you have all sorts of demands put on you. And then distributive politics kicks in. The question becomes, which of these many, many sets of people from different parts of the country belonging to different cultural communities. Are you going to try to help with the limited resources that you have? Because you don’t have the resources to help everyone. And there is a very strong tendency that’s explained in part through the logic of aka, primordial public to try to help members of your own community. Okay? So rallying the nation is really important for winning a national election or for overthrowing the colonial regime. But once you’re in power, you’ve got limited resources. You can’t help everyone, and you’ve gotta make a decision about who to privilege in terms of rewarding with the stuff that you control by virtue of being in power. And again and again, the pattern is that there are patterns of favoritism directed towards one’s group members. Okay, so the next question is, wouldn’t a system of patronage lead to lots of resentment over time and essentially to the leaders optimize. Yes, that’s exactly what happens. And we’re going to spend the next several lectures talking about how that process unfolds and how people respond to it. And then I have a request that your pizza and the characteristics of personal rollers. So it seems like we’ve got a question from question two on your reading list there. But then he also asked for-the applications of these characteristics. I mean, the key thing, the key aspects of personal rule is that the leader is central to everything. He’s on billboards, he’s on the money, he’s on the news. The whole it’s just this multifaceted attempt to try to equate the leader with the nation, right? So that people can’t even countenance that person not being the leader of the country, right? And then the second key aspect that I emphasized was that the whole central way in which politics works in this kind of a system is every, all the elites jockeying to get close to the President because its proximity to the President and the power he holds. It gets you access to stuff. Gets you access to your own power and your own set of resources that you can use to distribute, to enrich yourself and to help your social networks, right? So the leader is central. And for everyone else, it’s all about proximity to the leader. And the leader manipulates everyone else to try to maintain himself in Power. Bi, playing people off against one another, knowing that their access to power depends on access to him. And so he manipulates them, he shuffles them, he brings them close, he pushes them away in this constant manipulative dance to try to keep people fighting and competing against one another so as not to threaten him at the top. He’s the one written in ink at the top. Everybody else is on these little magnet tiles that get shuffled around by him. Okay. And lastly, colonial period Craig conditions or centralization of power. How did the colonial period create conditions? Well, part of it is the colonial states didn’t provide citizens with what they wanted. And that created demand for change. And that put pressure on the leaders who took power after colonialism to try to meet those demands. And the only way to meet those demands was to centralize power so that the state could be strong enough to be able to do all the things that people were demanding that it could do, right? And so the colonial rule or the colonial regimes created demands, but left a really weak state. And that created pressure on the people who took power after colonialism to try to strengthen that state so as to meet these unmet demands. Okay. Okay. So let me move now to the third key point that I wanted to make. Which is about, I’m calling this section linking state and society patrimony Elizabeth. Okay. So, so far when I’ve talked about how politics operates in a personal rule system, I’ve focused on the competition among, among elites for access to power controlled by the President who is like the big man at the top of the system. But I want to suggest now, and it’s illustrated nicely in this little schematic that I put together. Here it is, is that these patron linkages,these patronage linkages connect the elites to the leader. Also connect to the elites, to the masses in these long chains of patron client ties. Okay? And so the big man is at the top and below the big man you have a set of political elites at, let’s say the a level, right? But each of those elites has below them a set of sub elites, right? Who are their clients, who were at the B level. And each of those B level elites have a bunch of sea level clients below them. Okay? And quite often the way it works is that each of the A’s at the top is from a different ethnic or cultural community. So you’ve got these different, these cascading linkages of patrons at the top and clients at the bottom. But the client of the first patron, the big man, is himself a, a patron of a lower level set of clients. And then those lower level set of clients at the B level are in turn the patrons of a lower set of clients at the sea level. Okay? And so this is the fundamental structure of the system. So even at the bottom of society, people are connected to the big man through their connection to the local. Big relevant political guy,who in turn is connected to the big man through a political guy at the next level. And it just keeps going up. But the whole system is built around these connections that through multiple stages all lead up to the big guy at the top who is the president. Okay? Now it’s reasonable to ask why people even need to be connected to the leader? And the answer is that this is, this is where the resources are, right? This is the person who controls the whole apparatus of the state. The State is not only the center of power, it’s also the center of wealth and resources. So for example, in 1980, African states controlled 55% of all non agricultural jobs. So if you really wanted to job, you needed to have some connection with somebody in-the state apparatus who could make sure that you got one. The states also determine where development projects get put. Whether a road gets put in your district or somewhere else.Whether water improvements happen near your house or in a different neighborhood. Whether you get schools in your, near your village or near your part of the city where your kids can go or whether you don’t, where hospitals get put. Ok. States also control access to Licenses, access to import permits, building permits. All these things you need to do to transact businesses so you can make a livelihood. States control the court system. And so if you violate the law, right, the state actors who are responsible for adjudicating your case can be really lenient or they can be very stringent. And so it’s nice to have connections to the states so that the system that adjudicates your case errs on the side of leniency. States control budgets and payroll and other slush funds that can be rated and then redistributed to clients further down this patron-client system. Okay. They also control perks that you get access to.If you’re an office holder, you get cars and houses and travel per DMZ and sitting fees and other sources of income and wealth and prestige, okay? And so in a situation whereinstitutionalized rules govern how these resources are distributed, your relationship with the leader or being in his network wouldn’t really be that important. But in a context where institutions are weak and where power resides in the person of the president, being somewhere in the President’s network connected to him through some long series of patron-client train chains is really, really crucial. Okay? But the President is awfully far away. So for most Africans, I want to stress, it’s not politics isn’t about proximity to the big man. It’s about your connection to the little man who’s connected to the slightly bigger man who’s connected to the steel bigger man, who’s connected to the big man himself, okay? And so power and access to resources. Depends on, derives from your position in this enormous pyramid of linkages between patrons and clients. The big man is at the top, and you may be several layers down. But as we’ll see, one of the things that often links you to the person above you and the person above him and the person above him to the big man himself is kinship or some sort of ethnic or regional cultural tie. Okay? So a system of this sort, it’s sometimes called a patron client system because the Patron is the woman at the top. The people next, at the next level down, or clients who in turn may be patrons of additional clients. So that’s one way of thinking about a patron-client system. It’s also often called a patrimonial system. So this is a term where Potter is the Latin root pop, Potter is father. It captures the idea that family and family ties or something approximating family ties or at the root of the system, there is a father on the top. And all the relations are informal, just like they would be in a family, right? There’s no differentiation between public and private stuff. Public funds are the private and the private purse of the leader. They’re all the same. It’s not like it’s the state money, it’s Mobutu whose money, and he sees fit to distribute it as he chooses. And the leader or the father, really the defining characteristic of the political system. And it’s the person of the leader, not the office that carries the authority. That’s why it’s a personal system rather than an institutionalized system. Where you might have a president at the top, where it’s the office of the presidency that the power derives from. Okay? So the term patrimonial goes back to-the great sociologist Max Weber. Some scholars prefer the term neo patrimony to signal that the patrimonial behavior in places like Africa takes place alongside a set of formal institutions and laws and bureaucracies and administrative routines of a modern state. So Vaber was talking about patrimonial rule like before you had a modern state with all of its apparatus. And so recognizing that people who use the term are applying it to a more modern context, sometimes will use the term neo patrimonial to reflect that it’s patrimonial behavior, but it takes place within the context of a rational legal state. Right? Doesn’t really matter to me, which you use patrimonial, neo patrimonial. The key is that you understand how this system works. And as Christopher clap him describes the system, the way it works is that officials hold positions and bureaucratic organizations with powers that maybe formerly defined. But they exercise those powers so far as they can as a form of public service but of private property, right. The primordial public has taken over the civic public. And so clap him continues relationships with others, likewise fall into the patrimonial pattern of vassal and lord. Rather than the legal rational one of subordinate and superior. And behavior is correspondingly devised to display a personal status rather than to perform an official function. Okay? So thats kinda the nature of the system. One of the hallmarks of a system like this is that it’s in an equilibrium. It’s based on a set of expectations about who was going to help, who patrons are going to use their often ethnically or are going to help. They’re often ethnically defined clients. And these expectations create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Clients give their support to the patron in expectation of the patron using his power if he gets it or if he controls it to help them as clients, right? And that makes the system very, very resistant to change. It’s in an equilibrium, right? It explains why the introduction of competitive elections has an alter the system very much. And it also explains why economic reforms which lead to changes in the system by limiting the power of the patrons to control the resources that their clients are depending on them to distribute to them. Why there’s so much pushback against economic reforms that would undermine the ability of patrons to be able to control stuff personally for redistributive purposes. Ok. And so understanding how the system is structured is just really, really key to understanding how and why African societies and African politics are structured as they are. So it helps to explain a whole bunch of things. For example, it helps to explain why class solidarity in Africa tend to be quite weak.Because these reciprocity of relations don’t reduce extremes of wealth. But they legitimated, right? Even the lowest client can help to benefit from the riches held by a patron. There’s an expectation that wealth is going to trickle down through these chains that you see in that figure that’s still on your screen. And that leads to an acceptance of what shove all in the law is referred to as ostentation, right? There’s this weird phenomenon where people who’ve made it will build really big houses and drive nice cars. And they’ll do it in their home village or their neighborhood where they’re surrounded by people who were much, much poorer. There’s this conspicuous and the assumption, this ostentation that you would think would be a source of friction and resentment and upset, right? But it isn’t because the people at the lower rung Shabbat laws argue, have an expectation that the people who were from their community who have made it will redistribute stuff to them down the chains if they present themselves as being deeply in need, right? This is why you always have the same guys running the show. In African politics with very little renewal, an alteration of political elites, shove all into laws, make this point when they talk about recycled elites. It’s the same people that just get recycled through different positions in different kinds of political systems, right? This is what we found after the recent wave of democratic change in Africa, right?The same old politicians from the old authoritarian system re-emerged in positions of power in the new democratic system. They are called retread, like old tires. You just slap a new tread on it and they keep on rolling. Right? And the reason for this is because only politicians who are already established. We’ll have sufficient access to resources to be taken seriously by the clients who were trying to decide which patron to support which horse to bet on. Ok. It’s very, very difficult for newcomers to be taken seriously as credible patrons.Politicians may cycle in and out of favor. Remember, part of the whole structure of the system revolves around the president standing on top and shuffling people around and forcing them to compete at the level below him. But it’s always the same group of people and they just get recycled and retread it. Okay? This is beginning to change in part because the first generation of political elites are dying or have died. And because there are sources of wealth and power outside of the state in the private sector in ways that there hadn’t been before.But it still is a big part of the story of how politics in Africa has operated for very long period of time. And then the final thing that follows from this is obviously corruption, right? To succeed as a big man, a patron needs to have, needs to command a big network of clients, and that requires lots of resources. And that creates incentives for the patron to steal as much as possible to maximize the gains that they can generate from political office. And that’s basically the textbook definition of corruption using public office for private gain, okay? It’s the very heart of the logic of a patrimonial system, right? This is a system that involves siphoning off money from development projects, distributing patronage jobs, stealing from state coffers. So you have the resources to be ineffective patrons, you can keep your clients, okay? Okay. Of course, this kind of a system of corruption and patrimony holism is hugely dysfunctional. It favors the elites and the masses get screwed, but for the most part, the masses buy into it, okay? A patrimonial system makes a lot of sense for the people at the top.It’s structured to keep them in power, but it has enormous negative consequences for the country. And we’re going to talk about that starting in the next lecture. But I want to leave you with a photograph of this. So this is the Malibu estate of Teodoro Obiang man way. Okay. So he is the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea. Ok. This is his estate that he was forced to sell in 2014, that’s up in Malibu. So Equatorial Guinea is a country with a per capita gross national income in 2018 of about $22 thousand, about the same as Argentina. They get a lot of money from oil. But unlike Argentina, life expectancy in Equatorial Guinea is 58 years. And more than 8.5% of children die before the age of five, right? In a place like Portugal, the comparable figures or 77 and less than 1%. So what’s going on? How can they be so much poverty with an average gross national income of $22 thousand? Well, the answer is so much of that money is stolen by President Obama and his family. And his son made headlines several years ago by buying a $30 million state shown here in Malibu. And he was forced to sell it when the US attorney’s office started cracking down on people using ill-gotten wealth from corruption to by states like this in the United States.


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550 words
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