One way that governments keep people oppressed and thus stay in power is by keeping close tabs on their citizens. See the section on maintaining control in Understanding Harmful Economic Systems.
‘We are everywhere’: How Ethiopia became a land of prying eyes Kimo de Freytas-Tamura New York Times November 5, 2017
FENDIKA, Ethiopia — When he is away from his fields, Takele Alene, a farmer in northern Ethiopia, spends a lot of his time prying into the personal and political affairs of his neighbors. He knows who pays taxes on time, who has debts and who is embroiled in a land dispute. He also keeps a sharp lookout for thieves, delinquents and indolent workers. But he isn’t the village busybody, snooping of his own accord. Mr. Alene is a government official, whose job includes elements of both informant and enforcer. He is responsible for keeping the authorities briefed on potential rabble-rousers and cracking down on rule breaker. See full story.
Also see Understanding harmful economic systems., especially the section on maintaining control.
Credit Tiksa Negeri for The New York Times