This article argues for the reorientation of African governments from a model that privileges the central or garrison states to one rooted in the living experiences of citizens, such as their economic conditions, fellowship associations, local governments, and community self-reliance. It begins by describing and analyzing in depth an example of a set of moral, political, and social institutions that still work well to make collective decisions that the members of the community consider legitimate and follow without coercion. It demonstrates that a legitimate government is not and should not be a matter of instituting finished, polished, or ready-made solutions or principles of governance abstracted from without the polity, but it should be a matter of inducting principles from the living experiences of citizens and using them to govern the citizens.



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