governing structure that exists in Tanzania at the grassroots level is the
outcome of the implementation of the decentralization by devolution policy (D
by D) which emphases on transferring of authority items of functions and
responsibilities of the central government to where communities lives in order
to empower them to decide on the plans. The government intends to give more
power to the community to decide what they what to be done at the community
Constitution of URT, 1977 article 145(1) explain the establishment of local
Government Authorities not only that but
the power given to the Parliament to enact law which will provide directives on
how governance should be adhered at grassroots level items of structures,
function, powers and responsibilities.
The purpose for establishing
Local Government as per constitution is stipulated under article 146 (1)
of the constitution which stated that the government needs people to have
authority power to participate in planning and policy implementation at
grassroots level and the local government should have that responsibilities of
making sure that the community are engaged fully on the development (URT,
government Authorities in Tanzania was officially established after the
enactment of law as per the power vested to the Parliament in 1982. The
important Legislation enacted for the operationalization of the establishment
of Local Government Authorities were; The Local Government (District
Authorities) Act, 1982, No.7 of 1982, The Local Government (Urban Authorities)
Act, 1982, No. 8 OF 1982, The Local Government Finance Act, 1982, No.9 of 1982,
The Local Government Service Act, 1982, No. 10 of 1982 and The Local Government
Negotiating Machinery Act, 1982, No.11 of 1982. Due to this the year 1982 was
remarkably for the introduction of governance at local government authorities.
the argument for the governance on Village level will be discussed whereby
theories governing village level, Governance Structure, Citizen participation
in decision making will be identified, Mechanisms are available and Mechanism to hold Leader into account will be
observed, how effective the Village Bunge is will be asked and suggestion to
improve governance will be given in village level.
2. Theoretical and Empirical
Review on Governance in Village Level
framework guiding village structure and governance
Tanzania there are three governing principle endorsed by the policy of
socialism and Self reliance as introduced by Mwalimu Nyerere in 1967 which
includes equality among the community, shared respect for all families and community participation
in the development of their own village. It is though this policy which facilitated
the development of various strategies which directed the formulation of
villages which was commonly known as Ujamaa village (Hyden, 1980)
to Sikander (2015), explained that local government authority are the result of
decentralisation of administration at lower level, whereby the law are made at
Central Government and are implemented at the grassroots.
(Tidemand,2008), explained that
decentralisation theory as among the framework that governing Village level
governance as it refers to the delegation of the responsibilities that were
supposed to be performed by the central government and hence are transferred to
the low level of the government structure in order be performed by the
community themselves . Moreover when the government is giving power to make
decision and to power to decide on how policies should be implemented to the
community level is where devolution policy came in to practice (ibid). The village level implementing the policy of
D by D which gives mandate leaders at the grassroots to perform their task as
stipulated in the law. According to the study done by Massoi, (2009) revealed
that the aim of the policy to bring government closer to the people have been
well articulated both from the political, academic and government perspective.
The policy implementation has challenges specifically for those whom the
responsibilities are vested that are the grassroots level (Shivji, 2003)
theory of participation on decision making process are the vital aspect that
guiding administration of Village level. According URT, (1982) explained that
at the village level there are two main organs for decision making which are
Village Assembly (VA) and Village Council (VC). The Village Assembly comprises
of adult community member at that particular jurisdiction, It’s the VA which
elect member of not less than 15 and not more than 25 to form VC preceded by
the Chair who is elected from the VA before other member also, other member
involved are the chairman of Vitongoji.
transaction theory of governance which according to Williamson (1999) explained
that it view organisation/firm as the compromising group of different
individual with different goal. This difference of individual facilitates to
have the group that are opportunist and hence arrange thins on their own
interest within the society or firm. This reflect what is happening to the most
of the Village in Tanzania but specifically like Same where there reviewer have
had opportunity to interview shows the decision which are made in a VC or
Committee are made to benefit some group
of people and not the community at large
they are selfishly made to benefit personal interest.
regardless of the existence of the organised framework guiding structure and
governance at Village level which foster development at grassroots community
leader of some village are not responsible to facilitate the process. This have
be declared by the retired chairmen of the Manka Village when he says that ”community
did not take into consideration the importance of electing candidates whom are
committed to devote his/her time on the issues related to development of the
Village rather they focus on political affiliation”. The existence of
political influence was reported to be contributing factor for the community to
ignore the authority given to them.
Structure at Village.
The Village have official who are selected by the
member of the particular village to assume responsibilities of leadership. This official are dealing with all matter
concerning policy implementation at village level while there is Village
Executive Officer (VEO) whom are employee of the government and are task to
oversee all administrative authority within the Village. The emphasis is that
Village level is the full governing entity whereby leader at the village are
vested power by the law established them (URT, 1982).
URT (2003) indicated key aspect on governance in
Tanzania which is transparency, Stakeholders Participation, legal and judicial
framework, combating corruption and accountability. Therefore, the governance
structure at village level is key actors on fulfilment of the governance aspect
at local level. It was observed that the existing structure of governance at
village level are characterised with struggling of administrative duty from the
elected member with VEO within the
Village and leaving behind policy implementation which then facilitate most of the village to face
challenge during addressing development issues to the community.
According to the final report of REPOA (2008) on ‘The
Oversight Process of Local Councils in Tanzania’ explained that current
governance structure at the Village level are characterised with overlapping of
administrative and political function which are the outcome of unclear legislative
authority given to the leaders within the Village level ( Elected leader and VEO).
Therefore, in order to strengthen governance at village level the current
structure (VA and VC) should be given power and mandate to make the final
decision regarding development issues within their jurisdiction.
participation in decision making
of the community to the decision made at Village level are highly encourage, leaders of the village were instructed by the
law to ensure that their residents take charge in all matter related to the
development at their jurisdiction.
Participation of the Citizen in decision making at low level authority are
the key driver as it give them legitimacy and ability to demand for
accountability among elected leaders and other official at Village level (Graham, 2008).
of the Citizen or Community at a village level are guided by variety of theories among them are (1) Decision making theory
which emphasis on the democratic mechanisms
should be adhered on decision making at Village level, therefore the decision made
within the village should be based on the assumption that those whom are
affected by the decision should be given right to be involved full on decision
making process (Nyerere,1972), (2) the decentralisation theory which explaining
and indicates how the central authority should transfer power and responsibilities
to the lower level, in order to give citizen the legal power to plan and executing
decision regarding development within their
to the interview done via phone with chairperson and VEO for Manka Village
located at Same District Council revealed that the attendance of the statutory
meeting of the residents at the village level is very bad and facilitated them
not to hold the previous quarter meeting. They both identified reasons for low
attendance such as community does not take in to consideration the importance
of the meeting and they complained that the information for the meeting are not
given on time. This is also supported by
the study done by Kaminyonge, (2008) which revealed the similar findings.
was also said that there is misconception that the statutory village meeting
are organised to fulfil the needs of political affiliation of the village
leaders specifically those whom were elected hence community are not willingly
accepting to attend fully due to political diversity of the residents hence denial
their right to participate during decision making process at the village level.
there is a need to clarify political dichotomy existing in our countries
specifically at village level in order to eliminate the existing misconception
and hence to capacitate the community on the important of attending the
statutory village meeting.
are available to and applied to holders leaders into account
The Village level in Tanzania comprises two types of
leader that exist, those who are elected
headed by Village chairperson and other elected member from VC which
have the key role of managing policy formulation but there is no salaries paid
to them. The other categories are those who are employed by the government.
The procedure to hold both leaders accountable
differ due to the fact that each one of the leader at Village level came into
power in a different way. The public servants VEO are accountable on the basis
The Government Standing Order of 2009 while chairperson of the Village may be
removed from his/her position through election or petitions for recall which
will be sent to the District Commission and requesting him/her to attend impersonal
in VA in order to handle the matter concerning removal from the position of the
Village Chairman (URT,1982). It was revealed that citizen are not aware of the
procedures of making their leader accountable rather they wait till election
therefore leader take advantage to do what they think is right for them and not
for the benefit of citizen at large. Chairman said no leader have been reported
accountable at Manka Village for the past 20 years but no chairman have been re-elected
to the position after end of his/her tenure.
to Moncrieffe J.M. (2001) explained that holding elected or appointed officials
accountable helped to ensure leaders are answerable for specific actions or
activities to the citizens from whom they derive their authority. Therefore it
then becomes the mandatory for them to
give feedback on how the resource within the Village have been used and to what
extent was the intervention decided have been effected. This have facilitated
the introduction of development of progressive
report quarterly which are submitted to the higher level and are presented to
Assembly as village Bunge how effective it is
has been observed that although section 141 of the 1982 Local Government Act
gave substantial power to the VA and Section 142(1), (2) (a-e) which shows the
functions that should be performed by the VA. According to the study done by
Jonathan (2002) he observed that although VA has vested all power to do what
seems to be good to the residents but it lack the operative provision which
stipulate how these procedures should happen, he added that in practice the
village Assembly behave like an electoral college not a decision making body with
ultimate powers of control and supervision over other village organs. Therefore
there is a need to revise the existing power and mandate of the Village Bunge
in order to make them effective in decision making process.
needs to be done to improve governance in the Village?
governance at Village level needs to be improved, according to the observation
raised by the chairman from Manka Village of misconception which also was
supported by scholar on the necessity to capacitate the community in order to
have full participation of statutory meeting which was hindered mainly by
was observed that there is a need to change the legal framework governing
Village the Law was enacted during the reform era there is a lot of changes
which need to be accommodated due to the changes of technology and increased
demand, diversity of the community.
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