Ulinzi Shirikishi: Popular Experiences of Hybrid Security Governance in Tanzania
Development and Change
In the context of increasing academic and policy-related attention to hybrid forms of security provision which combine state and non-state institutions, in Africa and elsewhere, this article explores the implementation of community-based or participatory policing (ulinzi shirikishi) in Tanzania. Through ulinzi shirikishi citizens are encouraged to form local security committees, organize neighbourhood patrols and investigate reported crime. In contrast to earlier forms of state-sponsored sungusungu vigilantism in Tanzania, community police are expected to cooperate with the Tanzania Police Force and to adhere to state law. Based on 11 months’ fieldwork in three sub-wards of the city of Mwanza, this article argues that community policing has been fairly effective in improving residents’ perceptions of local safety. However, two important concerns emerge that may compromise the sustainability and legitimacy of community policing in the future. Firstly, organizing local policing entails considerable costs for communities, which disproportionately disadvantage the relatively poor. Secondly, controlling local service provision can enable individuals to pursue private gains, at the expense of the production of public goods. It is thus important to consider the development of hybridity over time towards models that may look less like community-based policing and more like commercial security provision.