CASE

Decentralized Governance in Tanzania

First Submitted By Kevin Um

Most Recent Changes By Scott Fletcher

General Issues
Governance & Political Institutions
Specific Topics
Public Participation
Location
Tanzania
Scope of Influence
National
Files
https://s3.amazonaws.com/uploads.participedia.xyz/0b990339-0611-4df7-a3e3-66ee36a0ec84_ToleojipyaHistoriayaSerikalizaMitaa.pdf
Links
http://www.tanzania.go.tz/
Start Date
Ongoing
Yes
Time Limited or Repeated?
A single, defined period of time
Facilitators
Yes
Face-to-Face, Online, or Both
Face-to-Face
Communication of Insights & Outcomes
Public Hearings/Meetings
Staff
No
Volunteers
No

Efforts to decentralize Tanzania's government began in 1972 but have been hampered by lack of civil education, poor legislative efforts, and lack of accountability mechanisms. The process continues with emphasis placed on public participation and demand-oriented service deli

Note: the following entry needs assistance with content updating and editing. Please help us complete it.

Problems and Purpose

The Tanzanian government has been reforming central areas of governance through a democratisation and decentralisation processes. Since these reforms began, the performance capability of the local governance and administrative structures has been significantly increased. Further progress has been made in setting up national structures and systems. However, there are still shortcomings in the way the newly defined roles are performed within the scope of the decentralising processes. Problems include: 

  • lack of qualified personnel
  • inadequate legal security of decentralisation by the constitution and laws
  • insufficient instruments allowing the population to demand accountability and performance capability of the state

Broad sections of the population are unfamiliar with the tasks assigned to the communities in a decentralised governmental and administrative system. Citizens, especially those in rural areas, rarely get involved in projects for their own social and economic development. The communities do not yet sufficiently make use of opportunities that accompany the progressive implementation of decentralisation to promote local development.

As the benefits to decentralization and democratization outweigh a return to centralized governance, the process continues with the help of international agencies and development organizations. 

Background History and Context

The Tanzanian government has been reforming central areas of governance and democratisation, including decentralisation processes, since at least 1972. Since these reforms began, the performance capability of the local governance and administrative structures has been significantly increased. Further progress has been made in setting up national structures and systems. However, there are still shortcomings in the way the newly defined roles are preformed within the scope of the decentralising processes. The reasons for this are:

  • Lack of qualified personnel
  • Inadequate legal security of decentralisation by the constitution and laws
  • Insufficient instruments allowing the population to demand accountability and performance capability of the state

Broad sections of the population are unfamiliar with the tasks assigned to the communities in a decentralised governmental and administrative system. Citizens, especially those in rural areas, rarely get involved in projects for their own social and economic development. The communities do not yet sufficiently make use of opportunities that accompany the progressive implementation of decentralisation to promote local development.

Organizing, Supporting, and Funding Entities

Know who was involved in organizing and/or funding this initiative? Help us complete this section!

Participant Recruitment and Selection

Know how participants were recruited for this initiative? Help us complete this section!

Methods and Tools Used

Decentralization involves the funding and implementation of citizen demand-orientated services and opportunities for public participation in local government processes. Efforts are planned and supported through a robust legislative framework.

Deliberation, Decisions and Public Interaction

The programme takes its bearings from the state reform programme. It supports the decentralisation process, in particular with regard to the harmonisation of the legal framework and good local governance. This means that instruments with which to demand accountability and performance capability of the state at a local level will be strengthened. Competences necessary to implement the reform will be expanded. These will include advising the partner ministry and its decentralised structures on issues such as policy formulation and improved procedures. Jointly with civil-society organisations, instruments which allow citizens to hold the state to account will be tested further, e.g. participative procedures for tracking the use of public funds. The harmonisation of the legal framework will be supported by offering strategic advice to the relevant inter-ministerial working group and by developing the competences of experts in positions of responsibility.

The programme will heighten the population’s ability to participate. State structures will learn to derive benefit from the shifts in power as a result of decentralisation. In the long term this will contribute to greater democracy, transparency and accountability at all levels of government.

Influence, Outcomes and Effects

Know what influence and effects this initiative had? Help us complete this section!

Analysis and Lessons Learned

Want to contribute an analysis of this initiative? Help us complete this section!

See Also 

President's Office, Regional Administration and Local Government Tanzania (PO-RALG)

References 

History of Local Government in Tanzania, President's Office Regional Administration and Local Government, 2016, http://egatest.go.tz/mwanza_II/storage/app/media/uploaded-files/Toleo%20jipya%20Historia%20ya%20Serikali%20za%20Mitaa.pdf

L. Massoi and A. S. Norman, "Decentralisation by devolution in Tanzania: Reflections on community involvement in the planning process in Kizota Ward in Dodoma," Journal of Public Administration and Policy Research, Vol 1(7), November 2009, 133-140. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237351484_Decentralisation_by_devolution_in_Tanzania_Reflections_on_community_involvement_in_the_planning_process_in_Kizota_Ward_in_Dodoma

V. Venugopal and S. Yilmaz, "Decentralization in Tanzania : An Assessment of Local Government Discretion and Accountability," Public Administration and Development, Vol 30, 2010, 215-231. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/5374

External Links

International IDEA Country Profile

Notes

The original version of this case study first appeared on Vitalizing Democracy in 2010 and was a contestant for the 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize. It was originally submitted by Christian Kreutz.

Lead image: "CSOs Debate on Nexus Between Tax Reform and Decentralization Policies," Policy Forum https://goo.gl/UdhEc4

Edit case