Accountability as an element of governmentality: an investigation of national and local executive accountability practices in the water sector in Tanzania

Jesper George Katomero

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    1269 Downloads (Pure)


    In Africa, and Tanzania in particular, international donors increasingly exert influence on governments to embrace accountability reforms as a pre-condition for receiving bilateral and multilateral development aid. This influence is noticeable in the Washington Consensus ideas about economic development and in concomitant funding programs by the World Bank, International Monitory Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and even Non-Governmental Organisations. This is exemplified by World Bank funded programs to improve public service delivery in Africa through the Water Sector Development Programs, Water Sector Reform Programs and the subsequent Water Policies. In this context, accountability is a key determinant in defining power relations between African countries and their western counterparts.

    This study sought to answer the research question “how are public officials held to account in Tanzania in the context of water service delivery?” To answer this question, accountability practices in three levels of governance were analysed: national, regional and local, as well as the impact of trans-national arrangements on accountability practices at these levels. The study also examined the potential of enlisting ICT and mobile phone initiatives for enhancing accountability in the water sector.

    The results indicate that accountability practices in the water service delivery sector in Tanzania can be understood as an interplay of different and often conflicting governmentalities where conflicting rationalities, mentalities and technologies are intertwined. This gives rise to complex and self-contradictory drivers, the result of which is that formal international donor accountability reforms are difficult to implement and can lead to counterproductive results. Thus, holding national and local level public officials to account should not be understood only through the lenses of principal-agent (PA) and collective-action (CA) theory, because these do not capture all drivers and interactions. In practice, the locally understood informal accountability governmentalities compete with the donor-driven formal accountability governmentalities.

    Only by quitting their roles do donors help give Tanzanian citizens a chance to hold their government accountable. Likewise, only by having a more encompassing, balanced incremental approach to various conflicting governmentalities, the people of Tanzania can start to fight corruption, and maybe introduce other changes that draw on the good elements of governmentality.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Hoppe, Robert, Supervisor
    • Wesselink, Anne, Supervisor
    • Pelizza, Annalisa, Supervisor
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date2 Jun 2017
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Print ISBNs978-90-365-4358-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2017


    Dive into the research topics of 'Accountability as an element of governmentality: an investigation of national and local executive accountability practices in the water sector in Tanzania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this