Book Reviews

“Prevention is better than cure” Key lessons from: Levitsky A. & Ziblatt D. (2018). How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future

Of late we have seen democracies being put under threat in various parts of the world. Even the USA, which has been considered the “guardian of democracy”, is facing a similar problem with the 2016 elections results. The Cold War in early 1990s brought about high hopes on liberal ideals including the spread of Democracy. With much excitement that blurred… Read more →

On engaging one’s “self” in a cultural “other”: Brief Reflections on Prof. Amy Stambach book : Lessons from Mount Kilimanjaro: Schooling, Community, and Gender in East Africa.

In her concluding chapter, Stambach reminds us that reading an ethnography is a matter of engaging one’s “self” in a cultural “other”. Throughout the book, however, I was engaging myself in a cultural “me”. I think this is more difficult than engaging in the cultural “other”. The book is an ethnography about my own culture and people.  Through reading it,… Read more →

How can we ensure effectiveness in #Tanzania’s public administration? Lessons from Dahlström C & Lapuente V. (2017). Organizing Leviathan: Politicians, Bureaucrats, and the Making of Good Government. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 262

“…take Sub-Saharan Africa, where the outcome of more than three decades of donor-funded public management reforms has been that the quality of public service institutions “…remains poor, seriously undermining governments’ capacity to provide public goods and services to the majority of the poor” … the major reason why reforms have failed seems to be that they have not seriously taken… Read more →

A simplified framework to understand Dictators’ strategies: lessons from Greitens S. C. (2016). Dictators and Their Secret Police: Coercive Institutions and State Violence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.324

Context: Increasingly, there is substantial mentioning and complaints on social media and in the streets of Tanzania, wondering whether we are walking towards a dictatorial regime or not. There has been analysis that Tanzania has always been under such type of rule- albeit in a subtler way in previous regimes. Such arguments are often linked with the stronghold ruling party,… Read more →

… the powers of Ideas… My reflection on: Schell O. and Delury J. (2013). Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the Twenty-First Century (New York: Random House, 2013)

Most scholars, commentators, media analysts, and students have been terming Chinese economic and material success as a “miracle”. A miracle is something that cannot be explained. Indeed, the classical and conventional economic development models found it hard to explain the exponential Chinese economic rise. More so, guys who struggle even much more

Books (social) I have read in 2015:

Consolation: this list excludes books I’ve had to read for teaching purposes (some I had to read in full – e.g. those of Collective Security just for class confidence), research, and/or consultancy. All in all, upon reflection, I’ve not read as much as I could…and I’ve a feeling (apportioning the blame here) it’s mostly due to having elections in Tanzania…. Read more →