Have East African cities contributed to or hindered nation-state formation and political stability? This paper explores ethnic dynamics and the interface between urban ethnic and national identities in two capital cities, Dar es Salaam and Kampala, suggesting that the dampening of an ethnic factor in the politics and economy of the national capital can facilitate the stability of the nation-state as a political entity. In the East African region, the transplanting of rural tribal identities to the urban capitals has often sparked urban tension if not national dissension and violence, but Dar es Salaam's creole foundations and cosmopolitan outlook have helped to chart a more peaceful urbanisation path.
Working Paper No. 34 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 29 pp.