Going once….. going twice….

I have 200 of your school desks in the store. If it wasn’t for the election laws, I’d have brought them today. But if you vote for our candidate, I’ll call one head teacher after another and get them to you.

Part of a stump speech in the Kirumba Ward by-election campaign in Mwanza Municipality, reported in this week’s Raia Mwema ( my translation, not yet online*).

Competitive politics distorts policy making and public services. Discuss.

*Now online.

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6 responses to “Going once….. going twice….

  1. Ironic, in view of BAe Systems and the UK Serious Fraud Office announcing last week BAE was going to pay £29.5 m for Tz school supplies as part of their settlement with SFO over the radar scandal.

  2. Politics here in the UK are dominated by lobbyists and party funders buying influence. The price for a private dinner with Prime Minister David Cameron was revealed as £250,000 last weekend. http://goo.gl/p2OjO and our coalition government is busy (in effect) privatising the National Health Service in a move that neither party signalled in their manifestos before the general election and which polls suggest is deeply unpopular with voters.

    So, yes, competitive politics distorts policy making and public services. But it seems that here the politicians are increasingly competing for funds from wealthy donors rather than the public’s affections.After they leave office many of them can expect to earn millions, of course, as this chap has: http://goo.gl/Ys2DV

  3. It’s ugly, it has its problems. But what’s the alternative? I’m with Churchill on this:

    “it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”

  4. According to recent research, it is only partly true that competitive politics distort policy making. A research programme, Elites, Production and Poverty, which has carried out comparative research in a number of countries, in a Policy Brief http://www.diis.dk/graphics/Publications/Policybriefs%202011/PB%20-ELECTIONS%20IN%20AFRICA%20_MIXED%20BLESSINGS_SCREEN.pdf, states that:
    ‘In Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda political elites have clearly been responsive to popular demands since competitive elections were reintroduced from the mid 1990s. Major decisions have typically aimed to benefit citizens country-wide; they are designed to have immediate
    and visible impact..’.

    However, that elites are responsive does not mean that their decisions are beneficial. The Policy Brief concludes that ‘the impacts of such election-winning productive sector policies are country specific and may – or may not – promote economic growth and poverty alleviation’.

  5. TZ mmmh!

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