Local Governance in Tanzania: Observations from Six Councils 2002-2003

"Governance entails participation, transparency, efficiency and equity in the management of people and their economy in a given country. Governance comprises the mechanisms, processes and institutions, through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences. Local governance refers to the way a local authority fulfils its responsibilities towards the citizens in their areas of jurisdiction. It covers relationships between local authority leaders and the citizens, as well as political parties and non-governmental organisations, and the central government in all phases of formulating policies that affect people in carrying out their daily activities. In this study, several political and administrative dimensions of governance are discussed. First is the issue of Local Government Autonomy. Here, an attempt was made to answer the question: To what extent are the local authorities free to make political decisions within the Tanzanian polity? It is recognised that the local government reforms has opened the way for multi-level planning systems and new, non-hierarchical forms of inter-ministerial coordination. However, while the decentralisation reform has set the stage for participatory local planning practices, it is by no means guaranteeing them. Improved trust relations, citizens’ rights, reduced corruption, participation in local elections and gender mainstreaming are important governance issues that are also discussed in this study"