African Local Government Photo Gallery

For teachers wishing to illustrate historical politics and government in East Africa, below is a selection of Miller’s photographs taken in 1964-1965, unless otherwise noted.

The traditional political system based on chieftancy is illustrated by Mirambo (1, original from 1880), the Napoleon of Africa, who controlled much of central and western Tanzania in the mid-19th century. Following that are traditional leaders in the modern era from Tabora district in western Tanzania, Chief John Mdeka (2) and his son (3).  

Other illustrations include political party leaders in Tabora district, Tanzania (1); a district commissioner (2-3) and forestry officer (4) in Marsabit district, Kenya; and a “Harambee” (pull together) in Kenya (5-6).

A local election in Tanzania’s Rungwe district in 1965 shows the social elements of the festive election day. Before voting, families gathered (1-4), candidates gave speeches (4,6,7), dancers performed for candidates (5), election officials lined up voters behind the candidates (8-10), votes were publicly counted (11), and candidates were seated after the results (12). Senior healers (14) and others (13,15) congratulated the winners, and victory speeches were made to audiences including visiting missionaries (16) and leaders from other areas (17). One Party Democracy, an article by Miller and Mwansasu, reports this process in detail. 

Visual examples of national leaders include Kenya’s First President Jomo Kenyatta (1), his successor Daniel Arap Moi (2), Uganda’s dictator Idi Amin (3), the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army Alice Lakwena (4), and Zambia’s anti-government religious leader Alice Lenshina (5).

The functions of government are carried out in such settings as the German colonial fortress in Tabora, Tanzania (1,5); an original local headquarters in Marsabit, Kenya (2); a new district office in Rungwe, Tanzania (3); and the National Parliament in Kenya (4).

See credits for photos not owned by Miller here.