AFRICA IS A COUNTRY

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Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Politics of the Belly

Jean Francois Bayart uses the Cameroonian term “politics of the belly” to describe patron-client relations in West African politics. Politicians distribute goods – filling the bellies of clients – in return for political loyalty, obviating the need for democracy and instituting alternative and sometimes moral forms of accountability. “It’s our time to chop” likewise captures