Introduction of the study
refers to the sound exercise of political, economic, and administrative
authority to manage a country’s resources for development. It involves the
institutionalization of a system through which citizens, institutions,
organizations, and groups in a society articulate their interests, exercise
their rights, and mediate their differences in pursuit of the collective good
“(Country Governance Assessment, 2005). The governance system is there to ensure
that political, social, economic and cultural priorities are based on society
consensus and the voice of the poor people are heard in decision making process
towards the allocation of development
resources and efforts (UNDP,1997).
Theoretical framework guiding village structure
The theory of depoliticisation
This theory was developed by John
Harriss, Profesor of a London school of economics (2001), he reveals about
participation of citizens in making decisions of social capital, trust and civil society
empowerment as regarded as weapons for political and socio-economic change in
the society, this could be achieved if citizens appear in meeting and all
issues pattern their area. He directed
further, against movement of the political left for progressive socio-economic
and political change which identify the root change in class difference. He
argued that, there is a move to reduce poverty to a technical problem, and by
providing technical solution to suffering of powerless and oppressed people.
The hegemonic problems development becomes the principles means through which
the problem is depoliticized.
Governance structure at street level
The street government exist under article
145(1)-(2) and article 146(1)- (2)(a-c) of the local government establishment
Act No 15 of 1984 with the purpose transferring authority and brought service
near to the people. This functions under street assembly whereby residents of
18 years of age and above have ability and power to formulate and approved by-law
of the respective street. However the street assembly works under chairperson
and his/her committees.
In accordance with local authority the
street assembly work through committees and dealt with specific matters such as
social services, economic affairs, safety and security, financing and planning
and budgetary allocation to the responsible department. The village assembly is
expected to meet at least four times a year to discuss issue related to
elections of several bodies and common issues related to development affairs of
the village government (Max, 1991). As per law it should be four times a year
but sometime it might be more or less regarded to the budget and orders from
village/street is the lowest administrative structure at the district level
with mandate to monitor all issues at their level, democracy is seen as
important institution for promote accountability and transparency among the
leaders and citizen from village government to the central government level. The
organization which is responsible registering village is called village council,
the village council is consisted a chairperson elected by village assembly and
sub-village-village chairperson, health workers, head teachers, villagers and
other official function in the village context (Njunwa,2005).
Citizen participation in decision making
Tanzania legislation considers citizens participation to be among principle of
good governance. Decision making rules was stipulated in the Local government Act
No 8 of 1982. According to this Act leaders have mandate to enhancing effective
involvement. The citizen participation is key engine to development since it enables
community members to participate fully in implementing activities such as
administrative decision-making, agenda-setting, and policy formulation for the
overall benefit of their societies. Good Governance system enables community
members to improve the quality of decisions making processes and policies
formulated by tapping into more extensive sources of information and viewpoints
conducted by Mwakasangula, at al (2015), reveals that citizens’ involvement in
decision making process helps to get better result. This can be achieved if leaders
have ability to make citizens willingly give their opinions and suggestions
towards decisions patterning development.
to chairperson of Mwananyamala kwa Kopa street, he explained that citizens are
participated in decisions made though the turn up to those meeting were not always
good and no attendance of participation because there is no by- law to force
it been observed the tendency of citizen not to show up in Street assembly is
because people do not consider that are part of decision as history. Also, in
most cases when they participated what was agreed wasn’t taken seriously as
result they felt no need of even attending those meetings.
Importance of citizen participation in decision making
helps to improve the quality of decisions made and policies formulated by
tapping into more extensive and alternative sources of information from
credible media and government bodies which is responsible to store and
dissemination information to the people (Fischhoff, 2008).
enhance responsive to the needs of their communities. In regard to the
community’s input in policy, planning and budgeting processes, citizen’s views
are being considered as important for attainment and promotion of the
socio-economic development and hence ensuring that their expectations are being
met and their priorities are being addressed accordingly (Sotta, 1990).
plays crucial role on promote active public participation helps sustain the
legitimacy of the decisions made. Community members are more likely to accept
the decisions and to feel that they are fair more so than if they have not been
involved in the decision-making process (Fischhoff, 2008).
enhances transparency and accountability which in turn helps to improve the
overall quality of governance. This will enable the members of the community to
set the long-term planning and policies as engine for attainment of the overall
socio-economic development. Therefore, transparency and accountability is seen
is engine for enhance citizen participation and managed to make decision making
in regard to their expectation to fulfill their priorities and needs
Applicability of Constitution on citizen participation process
most cases, Tanzania’s constitution basically guarantees participation: ‘Every
citizen has the right and freedom to participate fully in the process leading
to the decision on matters affecting him, his well-being or the nation’
Mechanisms are available and applied to hold leaders into account
Holding local government leaders to
account is an action of punishment of those leaders who have failed to meet the
expected duties and responsibilities.
It has been seen that the long chain of
hierarchy levels generates an environment subject to corruption than focusing
on generating performance because all people in the leadership chain are
generally play the similar role. On the other hand, local people have little
awareness of what they should expect from village government at any level
because the fundamental role of villages representative is just to lead people
in development issues such as land allocation, water supply, school, roads and
hospital/dispensaries construction. Chairperson is elected by citizen, and
those people have mandate to make him/her accountable and sometimes take
him/her out of the position by vote of no confidence (Njunwa, 2005& Mustafa
In addition, the degree of
accountability can be measured by considering the degree of people inclusion on
development issues and participating openly on working together with village
government in order to bringing their own development.
Also, chairperson of Mwananyamala Kwa Kopa
responded the same by saying for Civil Servant the law used to employ him/her
will used to make him accountable and chairperson the citizen will use vote of
no confidence to the leader and make him/her accountable.
All the mechanism are real available in
writings but its applicability still not taken seriously since those people are
continue to work in those offices as leaders.
Therefore, the citizen have power to hold
elected leaders to account because the citizen is one who can fast identified
and discovered the weakness of his or her leaders in the village. Then after
discovering the weakness of the leaders, a citizen has the right to present it
for further displinary action in the village meeting then the finally decision
can be taken so that further action taken. It largely true that citizen have
full mandate to hold leaders to account (Mutahaba, 2012).
Village Assembly as village Bunge, how effective it is?
In the case of Mwananyamala Kwa Kopa the
membership of the village assembly consists of all people who are usually
resident in the village and have attained the apparent age of 18years. Then,
these citizen have power to participate in village matters and responsible for
making decision in regard to their problems, social needs and plan for attain
development, and the assembly as per law should be four times in a year, this
may be less or more depending the demands of area itself.
Function of village assembly
The village assembly is regarded as
supreme authority on all matters in regard to affairs of the village. The
village assembly is primarily responsible for the election of the village
council and the removal from the council of any or all of the members of the
council, including the hamlet chairpersons whom it does not elect (Max, 1991). In
regarding to the local government act of 1982 section 24 states “there shall
be village assembly for every village”. All the ideas in most cases remain
in writing since taking out a leader into their position took process as a
result ignoring the process.
The effectiveness of the village Assembly
Village government play an important role of enhance openness to village
The village leaders are obliged to
present report to the village assembly in regard to all activities done by the
village government over the three months from the last village assembly to the
current meeting as it’s done at the Mwananyamala Kwa Kopa. On the other hand,
leaders need to communicate periodically to the village assembly whatever have
been done by them quarterly such as providing budget and financial reports in
regard to expenditure and income. (Max, 1991).
Enhance the degree of local people participation in decision making
In the case study of Kwa Kopa, one of
the fundamental roles, the village assembly has to ensure the village
government through participation of village residents in all matters related to
the development at the village level. In that sitting village residents get a
chance to engage in matters concerning them such as analyzing the village
situation, asks different questions and explanation to village governors,
discuss different problems facing their villagers as well as identifying
different opportunities the village has and set priorities depending to the
number of problems and the resources they possesses (Kaminyonge, 2008).
What needs to be done to improve governance in the village level?
Strengthening citizen participation at local level
participation in local governance involves ordinary citizens
assessing their own needs and participating in local project planning and
budget monitoring. It is important for improving public resource management and
reducing corruption, by making public servants and political
leaders accountable to the people. Therefore, legislation considers
the participation of the villagers to be an important element and engine of
good governance system (Mwakasangula et al. 2015).
The process of formulate any policies at
village level should be people centered responsibility and opinions needs
should be given by the people in regard to the people’s needs, management of
the resources and development should be discussing and come appropriate policy
framework which focus on solving and improving the current problems the
villages. Then, the amendment of policy at village level needs to include a
section that allows village councils to analyze and adapt policies in
consultation with village assemblies in order to increase citizen ownership and
ability to demand accountability in case of poor implementations by leaders.
Provision of seminars and workshop on governance issues
This can be done by the non-governmental
organization in collaboration with local government. The role of
Non-governmental organization is ensure the local people are participating in
workshop and seminars, also another responsibility of NGOs is to educate the
local people on governance issues and be able to assess their implication in
the daily life. On the other hand, local government play fundamental role on
informing the local people through the public notice board and meeting
conducting at the village level as the result will help the villagers to
participate in the meeting and workshop intended to be conducted at the
Implementation of plans according to street
One among the challenges in Kwa Kopa is
when they took ideas to the council its implementation delayed and made people
feel that their leaders are not responsible while it is not them. Some of these
planned previous the citizens devote their time and energy to do some jobs like
making brick for construction, dig the tunnel for school builds but now people are busy doing their business.
This had being observed as very big
challenge in making sure that the meeting is conducted as scheduled, because
all the expenditure of the meeting are coming from street collections and
donors. So whenever they fail to get money meetings won’t be as planned. In
connection to that the street offices lack even stationeries which is used for
their daily basis as a result people have being asked to brought papers for any
documents or pay for which is against law.
In Street Council the leaders might came
from different political party in which most of the people are not, for that
case challenge might arise because citizens from different party will not
sometimes provide full support with feeling of doing that is against their ideology,
while in real sense it is just development for both not for a particular party.
The governance at grassroots level seem
to have a lot of challenges which make them not to perform well their duties,
there are several strategies suggested;-
influencing the Municipal Council to open up economic activities for
each street council, so as to raise money for different activities.
Secondly, the Municipal Council should
implement what the Street Council ask but not what they think because their
priority may differ, this could be successful only by involving those leaders
in grassroots’ level example Mwananyamala Kwa Kopa might not need dispensary
because they have Mwananyamala Hospital nearby.
Thirdly, citizens need to be educated on
issues patterning development in the local level because by so doing will be
easy to built the big one(national wise). Also in issues of ideology people in
a particular street need to think of development as per their area not for a
leader of different ideology.