THIS article aims to clarify the national political culture of Tanzania through an analysis of one important institution — the Cabinet. Although attention to the norms and rules that regulate political behaviour in formal and informal ways can reveal insights that are not disclosed by other approaches, political culture has been a neglected field in the study of African politics.
By way of contrast, class analysis has been a popular approach to African politics in past decades.1 It has been shown, for instance, that those in government positions siphon off surplus from the peasantry through the marketing of agricultural produce. This has happended in countries as diverse as Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi, and Tanzania, 2 where there are enormous differences in economic performance, as well as with respect to the way in which political conflicts are handled. People n similar class positions can act in a variety of ways – this is a matter of culture – because there is more than one possible logic with which to perceive and defend interests.
* Jan Kees van Donge is Senior Lecturer and Athumani J. Liviga is Assistant Lecturer in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, University of Dar es Salaam.