Title

Role Of The M.P. In Tanzania

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-1970

Published In

American Political Science Review

Abstract

The study of politics in “developing” countries has tended to focus on the less formal organs of government, such as political parties, the military, the bureaucracy, and even the educational system. National legislatures have often been ignored or rated of little significance in the political processes of these states. This practice contrasts markedly with the attention paid to legislatures in Western states. The most obvious explanation for it is that legislatures in new states tend to have little influence. Important decisions and shifts in power are usually made or recorded elsewhere in the political system. The Bunge, or National Assembly, of Tanzania is no exception to this general phenomenon. Nevertheless, an examination of the role of M.P.'s in Tanzania can be illuminating. The Bunge contains most of the major political leaders and has, at least constitutionally, broad authority. As a consequence, if the Assembly is to be only a weak political body, then informal norms limiting the powers of the M.P.'s role must exist. Moreover, these norms should prescribe authority relationships between the legislature and other policy shaping bodies in the political system, particularly the Party. Thus, an analysis of the roles of these men can provide important insights not only into the functions of the Bunge, but also into the elite political culture of Tanzania and the pattern of politics which this culture supports.

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