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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Togolese chiefs: caught between Scylla and Charybdis?
Author:Rouveroy van Nieuwaal, E.A.B. vanISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:Togo
traditional rulers
Abstract:This paper deals with the balance of power between the Togolese State on the one hand and the Togolese chieftaincy on the other. The author considers this balance of power as a 'zero-sum game', in that the expansion of the power of the State nearly always is at the expense of the chief. Both actors have only one possibility: to seek to consolidate their own position by fighting each other. There is also, however, an interdependency between the State and the chief. The paper first describes the influence of French colonial rule on political leadership and authority in Togo. Then it examines the mechanisms through which the Togolese government smoothly captured the traditional political elite. Through the 'enquête de moralité' the government became a significant factor in the appointment of chiefs. In 1986 the National Union Party, the 'Rassemblement du peuple togolais (RPT), decided to incorporate the National Union of Togolese Chiefs, the UNCTT (Union nationale des chefs traditionnels au Togo). At the local level, the chiefs still play an important administrative and legal role. The new opposition leaders realize that chiefs fulfill many social-legal functions and that they remain important as a kind on local-level intermediary between the State and the people. Bibliogr., notes, ref.