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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Decentralization, Participation, and Accountability in Sahelian Forestry: Legal Instruments of Political-Administrative Control


Policies of “Indirect Rule” under the British and “Association” under the French created an “institutional segregation” in which most Africans were relegated to live in a sphere of so called “customary” law (or the “indigenat”) while Europeans and urban citizens obeyed civil law—customary law being an administratively driven form of State ordained and enforced regulation.... By uncritically privileging local government and “customary” authorities,... recent decentralizations and rural participatory development projects and policies can maintain and even deepen this ongoing legislated apartheid.

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