Invented traditionalism vs. entrenched informal institutions: viability of hybrid governance in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland
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Hybrid Governance as a coexistence of state and traditional institutions challenges conventional understanding of state fragility/failure and offers a new perspective for developing states. Being capable of overcoming a modern-traditional dichotomy, hybrid governance represents fluidity of formal-informal institutional setup where the informal actors including Bigmen, chiefs or other traditional leaders complement the state capacity. Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland as three Southern African states being subject to the British colonial rule are notable examples of different forms of hybrid governance, where the pre-colonial state formation blended with the “imported” colonial state resulted in the institutional dualism. However, the divergent political transition witnessed across the countries questions the viability of hybrid governance and requires a closer analysis of how conducive such institutional mixture can be to democratic transition. This study builds on the premise that higher importance of traditional institutions vis à vis the state can be less conducive to democratization due to inherent incompatibility of the indigenous traditional tenets with democracy and reflects on the role of pre-colonial state and colonial legacy in molding hybrid governance.