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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sungusungu: State-Sponsored Village Vigilante Groups among the Kuria of Tanzania
Author:Fleisher, Michael L.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Tanzania
organized crime
national security
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1160816
Abstract:This article describes the organization and operation of 'sungusungu' vigilantism in its State-sponsored incarnation as it unfolded in a village of the agropastoral Kuria people in Tarime District, northern Tanzania, in the mid-1990s. 'Sungusungu' first arose among the Sukuma and Nyamwezi people of west central Tanzania in response to feelings of insecurity with respect to cattle theft and banditry and the failure of either the government or the police to stop these crimes. The article shows that State-sponsored vigilantism as practised by the Kuria has provided certain benefits both to the State and to local people, although it suffers from some of the same weaknesses that plague the official law enforcement and justice system. It further elucidates the various ways in which local communities have been able to manipulate 'sungusungu' in order to garner certain advantages which may not have been anticipated by the State. The article is based on field research carried out in a Kuria village of the Nyamongo clan from August 1994 to March 1996. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.