Neopatrimonialism In Africa

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Neopatrimonial practices are widespread throughout African governments. This results in slowed development and a system in which those in power must continue to maintain corrupt practices in order to continue to provide for themselves and their families. In this paper I will introduce the concept of neopatrimonialism and the various academic discourses that subscribe to its presence or lack there of. I will then examine the role it plays in health indicators and policies in Kenya and Zambia, which serve to support that neopatrimonialism leads to a lower quality of care than in countries without a neopatrimonial practice. A brief synopsis of the history of Guinea Bissau will follow, focusing on the period leading up to independence and onwards.…show more content…
Okuro examines Daniel arap Moi’s response to the crisis in Kenya (2009). As President from 1983-2002, Moi was known for his controlling behaviour; he centralized and personalized power so that he was involved in all sectors of government (Adar & Munyae, 2001). In the context of the AIDS crisis Moi was torn between keeping church officials happy, whom he received significant support from, and pleasing the international community, from whom he needed financial assistance. Initially he rejected the seriousness of AIDS, concerned that it would affect Kenya’s tourism industry, which at one point was the main source of income for the country (Valle & Yobesia, 2009). In 1986, the International Herald Tribune’s issue on AIDS in Kenya was banned by the government, claiming an international smear campaign was the cause of the article (Okuro, 2009, p. 279). This is a typical neopatrimonial action according to Cammack (2007, p. 602). Through state-owned radio it was preached that AIDS was a disease of sex workers and homosexuals; the church taught that it was a result of personal sin. After austerity measures were imposed by the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) he revised his opinion on the crisis and his government imported 300 million condoms as a preventative measure much to the displeasure of the church (Blomfield, 2001; Okuro, 2009). Yet it has been speculated that AIDS cases in the coastal areas were underreported to promote tourism, while in the more rural areas it was overreported in order to gain international donors (Okuro, 2009, p. 281). van de Walle would characterize this response as a symptom of ‘partial reform syndrome (as cited in O’Neil, 2007). Typically, after attempting to continue the problematic practice, “deepening economic crisis forced African leaders to accept that some reform was unavoidable,

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