Document Type



Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This paper is about the state, law and urban poverty in Tanzania. The paper examines how the state in Tanzania has been trying to solve the problem of urban poverty. The main argument is that the state's conception of urban poverty is not realistic. The urban poor are seen as responsible for their poverty. This is confirmed by the kind of coercive policies, legislation and other measures which have been instituted by the state in order to solve the problem. The paper argues that due to lack of a critical analysis of the causes of poverty, the state has been implementing policies which have exacerbated the problem, because they have treated the symptoms rather than the essential relations. The paper concludes by arguing that law, like other policies, has to assist the process of social and economic development Rather than criminalizing the poor, in developing socialist countries like Tanzania law has to assist them.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America