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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The roots of resilience: exploring popular support for African traditional authorities
Author:Logan, CarolynISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:traditional rulers
local government
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/112/448/353.full.pdf
Abstract:African traditional authorities have proved to be highly resilient, remaining just as much a part of the 'modern' political landscape as any legislature or local council. Analysts draw sharply different conclusions as to whether this resilience is rooted in popular legitimacy, or whether it instead derives from either State sanction or State weakness. In short, the question is whether traditional authorities survive and thrive because of the preferences of the mass public, or only at the behest of the State, and in fact in opposition to the popular will. Data collected in 19 countries reveal an intensity of support for traditional authorities that challenges those who argue that these leaders are unwanted and undemocratic. While Africans find these leaders to be flawed, they enjoy widespread popular legitimacy, and most believe that traditional authorities have an important role to play in local governance. The public values the role traditional authorities play in managing and resolving conflict, and their leadership qualities and accessibility to ordinary people. Evidence also suggests that traditional leaders play an important symbolic role as representatives of community identity, unity, continuity, and stability. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]