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On November 8, 2016, Policy Forum (PF) and Officials from President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (PO-RALG) agreed to have a long term partnership and work together to strengthen local governance in the country. The consensus was reached during the meeting organized by PF in Dodoma Region.

Giving a brief account of the relationship between PF and PO-RALG, Sebastian Kitiku, the head of social services delivery at PO-RALG said that, Policy Forum Members had initially agreed during their quarterly meeting held on 28th October 2016 to collaborate with PO-RALG in producing popular versions of three local government documents namely:  Local Government Development Grant Guide,  M and E System and Annual Assessment Tool. These documents will facilitate Local government Authorities (LGAs) Officials to perform their functions properly.

Kitiku noted that “this was the beginning of a great relationship between Policy Forum and PO-RALG which has steered constructive methods to  strengthen the both parts for the great good of the public”.

During the presentation, Anna Stainsby-Programme Officer at the Policy Forum, highlighted the objective of PF study which was motivated by the desire to understand the use of the PO-RALG circular No. B.25/307/10 of 2nd November 2012 with a title  Mamlaka za Serikali za Mitaa Kutoa Taarifa Mbalimbali kwa Wawakilishi wa Asasi zisizo za Kiserikali (AZAKI).  

The circular was issued after Policy Forum had organized its members and started discussion with the Prime Minister’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government (now the President’s Office-Regional Administration and Local Government) to issue a Circular that require LGA officials to make available a set of documents to CSOs.

During the meeting, CSOs requested for PO-RALG’s assistance in strengthening the Circular’s ability to access information. In many cases most CSOs fail to access  information from the LGAs due to bureaucracy and absence of particular law to facilitate access to information.

 

 

 

 

Members of the Standing Committee on Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee have commended the work of Policy Forum’s Local Government Working Group members in preparing a booklet that will help sensitize citizens on the constitutional review process  entitled: “Mwelekeo wa Katiba Mpya Tanzania: Tulikotoka, Tulipo na Tuendako”. The appreciation was expressed during the launch of the publication that took place on the 6th of November 2016 at the African Dreams Hotel in Dodoma.

Israel Ilunde, the chairperson of the Policy Forum’s Local Government Working Group, highlighted some proposals in the booklet which include a schedule that should see the culmination of the process ending in the year 2020 and the establishment of a national level meeting for all stakeholders to collect their views on the constitution.

Najma Mkaza, Vice Chairperson of the Committee, assured participants that the President takes the constitution as a priority despite being misrepresented by the media when he addressed them at the beginning of November. She went to further commend the recommendations of PF that are mentioned in the booklet as practical.

Taska Mbogo (Special Seat-Katavi) reminded participants of the roundtable that most citizens in the country are unaware of the constitutional process and therefore called upon Policy Forum to provide more awareness on the issue.

Hebron Mwakagenda, the Vice Chairperson of the Policy Forum, encouraged MPs to continue to push for the constitution and that their efforts will ultimately bear fruit and stakeholders will eventually see the stalled process moving forward.

Semkae Kilonzo, Coordinator of the Policy Forum, said that apart from the constitutional issues, Policy Forum also does advocacy in other policy areas such as producing analysis on budget at both the national and local level when asked by Members of Parliament what the network is doing in terms of monitoring the implementation of Tanzanian policies.

“Our working groups constantly monitor the implementation of policies and you will see from the policy briefs provided that we just recently examined whether the education and health budgets have adequate allocations. Before that, we looked at the Free Education for All policy to determine if it is viable. Our briefs are purposefully abridged for busy MPs and policy makers to digest and use.”  

The Guest of Honor, Hon. Mohammed Omary Mchengerwa invited CSOs to work together with the Constitution and Legal Affairs Committee in future constitutional processes that will follow.

To read the book click here

 

 

 

Kindly be informed that Policy Forum offices will be closed from Monday November 7th to Friday 11th November for our Policy Week Engagement in Dodoma.

The office will be opened and resume its regular activities and operations on Monday ,14th November 2016.

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience that this may cause.

We encourage you all to send us any pressing/urgent matters to the PF Secretariat Office by end day today (Friday) by email (info@policyforum.or.tz), phone (2780200). All other matters will be addressed when our offices re-open on 14 November.

Members of the Policy Forum Local Government Working Group have produced a TV spot with a theme on the freedom of information, aiming at sensitizing citizens to demand information and the government to provide information. The spot is currently being broadcasted on ITV and TBC during the pre and mid news. To see the advert please click on the following link:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3tSyOXY5xo&feature=youtu.be

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release

CIVIL SOCIETY CONVENES NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY

Effectively and efficient use of natural resources for public benefit

On October 26 and 27, 2016, HakiRasilimali Coalition in collaboration with its members: HakiMadini, Interfaith Standing Committee, Policy Forum, ONGEA and Governance Humbly Links will organize a national conference on extractive Industry to be held at Blue Pearl Ubungo Plaza Hotel, Dar es Salaam. A two day conference will commence at 8:00am.

The conference aims to broadening information sharing to build awareness and provide lessons on advocacy strategies in mining, oil and gas economies.

Specifically, the conference will focus on emphasizing efficient use of natural resources for the benefit of the public.

Objectives of the conference are:

  • To scrutinise the current extractive land access practices and the impacts on community rights and livelihoods
  • To understand transparency and accountability initiatives in the extractive sector
  • To assess the link between corporate social responsibility and local economic development in extractive sector
  • To review policy and practices in Artisanal and small scale mining (ASM) formalization and development.
  • To stimulate collaboration and alliance building within Civil Society, Communities and ASM in the region.

The tradition of jointly organizing National Extractive Conferences started in 2011 whereby HakiRasilimali members led by the Interfaith Standing Committee in collaboration with other CSOs organized an alternative Mining Indaba conference alongside an official conference organized by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in Arusha Tanzania.

In 2012, HakiRasilimali members led by HakiMadini, Policy Forum and Interfaith Committee organized the first conference for communities impacted by both solid minerals and oil extraction activities in Tanzania as well as artisanal and small miners.

Participants of the 2016 National Conference on Extractive Industry are civil society organizations, faith based organizations, representatives from mining communities, media, mining companies, small scale miners from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, government representative from various agencies, like-minded social actors from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Kenya and Development organizations.

For more information, contact Racheal Chagonja by email coordinator@hakirasilimali.or.tz  or telephone number 0745 655 655

_______________________

Racheal Chagonja

HakiRasilimali Coordinator

 

 

 

 

 

Stakeholders have called upon the government to work more closely with faith based organizations to tackle corruption.

Speaking at the Policy Forum Breakfast Debate held on 30th September 2016 entitled “Salvation of Tanzania: The role of Faith-based Communities in Tackling Corruption,” Dr. Alfred Sebahene of the St. John's University of Tanzania, said it is high time that measures and actions to curb petty and grand corruption were strengthened  as a national agenda with clear monitoring and evaluation tools such as the five-year development plan which will incorporate collaboration with faith based communities as a strategy.

“Although religion remains a sensitive topic, one which has recently generated significant wariness in government circles, lessons from Botswana and Ghana inform that we need to have coherent policy choices that strategically involve faith leaders,” he said, claiming that faith organisations are the largest and best-organised civil institutions equipped to tackle contemporary social and moral challenges.

Sebahene’s view was backed by Dennis Allan from Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) who illustrated how faith based organisations in Tanzania have been involved in advocacy for transparency in the extractive industries, referring to an alliance of religious organisations known as the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation with the support of Christian Aid and the Norwegian Church Aid which carried out and produced a study – “the golden opportunity” - looking at the tax policy and practice in the Tanzanian mining sector.

In 2012, the same organisaion conducted an advocacy campaign around a report entitled: “The One Billion Dollar Question: How Tanzania can Stop Losing So Much Tax Revenue,” which analyses Tanzania's tax policies and how much revenue the country is losing from tax evasion, capital flight and tax incentives.

Moreover, Allan also shared his experience on a research which was conducted by the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation which revealed that small-scale miners were more willing to share their issues with faith-based leaders, this shows the relevance of faith-based organizations.

Grace Masalakulangwa from the Interfaith Standing Committee on Economic Justice and the Integrity of Creation said that corruption is an issue of moral failure, the remedy being moral transformation and the people to let faith based organisations continue to influence their moral standings.

Corruption is pervasive throughout Tanzanian society and is a serious problem across all sectors of the economy. Transparency International’s 2015 Corruption Index revealed that Tanzania was ranked among the twenty countries in Africa with the worst corruption and also placed 117th out of 168 countries. In recent years, the Tegeta Escrow Account (TEA) scandal has come to epitomize corruption in Tanzania and was by far the most important public policy issue of 2014 that exposed weaknesses of the country's formal institutions.

 

Policy Forum (PF) is conducting a study to probe its radio programmes on Social Accountability in Lindi and Mtwara regions from 18th to 22nd September, 2016. The programmes were aired since 2015 in three radio stations namely Info Radio FM (Mtwara), Mashujaa FM (Lindi) and Safari FM (Mtwara).

The study is based on qualitative analysis through the Focus Group Discussion (FGD) that will enable PF to establish if the programs enhanced awareness, understanding and shared obligation in governance and accountability within the targeted communities of Lindi and Mtwara Regions as well as make recommendations for future programming.

A total of 64 male and female respondents based in urban and rural areas in both regions are involved as a study sample. The respondents include the ones who participated in the radio programmes by sending SMS or calling and those who had an opportunity of listening to the programs but did not participate by calling in.

Opening the FGD, a moderator Walter Raphael asked the respondents to discuss openly without fear and promised confidentiality of their responses. Contributing in the discussion, one respondent urged the government officials and local leaders to involve the citizens when making decisions regarding development sectors especially investment projects to avoid social and political confrontations in the future.

Responding on how Mtwara Region has benefited from the extractive industry, one of the respondents expounded that “we now have good roads, electricity and our small businesses have grown, we can easily travel to Dar and back in one day’’. The respondents cited negative effects such as loss of cultural values due to an interaction with people from different cultural aspects.

The respondents commended on PF Social Accountability programs aired on the local radio stations for providing civic engagement programs which enhances accountability and transparency.

PF introduced Social Accountability in Lindi and Mtwara to help improve the capacity of Tanzanian communities in Southern Tanzania, their local councillors and civil society organisations to oversee the executive’s collection and use of revenues from extractive industries.

Pindi Chana

Picture: Dr. Pindi Chana of the Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) talking with the press after the debate

Addressing gender inequality at both local and national levels will require the effective intervention of stakeholders in all sectors, it has been stressed. The call was made by Prof. Marjorie, a member of TGNP Mtandao, during the monthly Policy Forum 'Breakfast Debate' held on 26th August 2016 at British Council Auditorium.

Prof. Marjorie gave the example of a policy bias towards the promotion of largescale investments in agriculture, tourism, mining; set against the lack of any strong support for small-scale producers in many regions of the country.  A large portion of the latter are women who depend on family economic activities to a greater extent than men, and who are especially vulnerable given the interaction of patriarchal and corporate globalization structures and systems.

Prof. Marjorie cited an analysis conducted by TGNP Mtandao on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Five Year Development Plan (2016/17-2020/21) which shows that FYDP II puts greater priority on economic growth, but is generally 'gender blind'.  The study calls for women (as the most affected group), and also for like-minded male government leaders and politicians - regardless of party affiliation - to work together with advocacy civil society organizations and networks at all levels, including TGNP Mtandao and members of the Feminist Activist Coalition (FemAct).  The objectives are to track progress, and to advocate implementation of (the SDGs and GEWE) desired strategies of FYDP II and budget.

Gender equality is a basic human right; a fundamental value for social justice, and not just a means for economic growth or prosperity, insisted Prof. Marjorie.

Dr. Pindi Chana, an Advocate at Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and a contributor to the debate, said that it is crucial that the existing avenues - such as planning process - are always used in addressing gender issues and all other related issues.

Dr. Rose Mwaipopo, Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, the second speaker at the debate, urged actors to advocate for the FYDP II to adopt gender related indicators so that it can be tracked and measured.

Conclusively, Rennie Gondwe, a representative from the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children said that the government is creating initiatives to address gender issues in the country, in addition to 'The Women and Gender Development Policy (2000)' which is already in place.

For the powerpoint slides delivered at the debate, click here

 

 

Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) have been urged to collaborate with other stakeholders including CSOs and the media and the general public so as to make their audit reports be more meaningful. The call was made recently at a meeting hosted by the National Audit Office of Tanzania (NAOT) and the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) in Arusha Tanzania.

The meeting organised for the Working Group on the Value and Benefits of SAIs, met to deliberate on how SAIs in the member countries could be more effective in exercising their powers and how this effectiveness by SAIs can contribute to improved governance and accountability and more broadly improved service delivery to citizens.

SAIs, for example, can provide room for other stakeholders to participate in the audit process by letting them identifying possible areas for auditing. Although there is still hesitation amongst auditors in terms of creating room for other stakeholders to engage with them, it was interesting to hear from the CAG of Tanzania his positive views on engagement with CSOs based on the existing collaboration between his office and Policy Forum.

The members of the working group, however, observed that many SAIs, due to financially being depend on the government, had limited independence and in a way this influenced their way of auditing or producing reports. Experience shared pointed that this financial dependency however does not seem to compromise the quality of their audit reports.

Most of the participants emphasized the need for SAIs to publish their reports in a form that other actors including the media and citizens can find these reports useful and help in ensuring that the findings are discussed widely. These reports should be given to citizens with the understanding that these citizens can do what these SAIs cannot do.

On Sustainable Development Goals and how SAIs can maximize the value of their work, everyone agreed that SDGs require the attention of SAIs in order to monitor progress. The relevance of the SAIs will be enhanced if they take into account SDGs programmes. The discussion, however, centred on what to audit and what to leave out. There are so many social programmes under the SDGs and as such a clear criteria need to be developed to determine the issues that require auditing. It was pointed out that some regions have already developed papers on this subject and therefore a need for crosschecking to avoid duplication of work. The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) is also starting a programme on SAIs and SDGs.

Also discussed was assessing and monitoring the performance of SAIs through the development of a single, global Performance Measurement Framework which provides the SAIs with voluntary assessment tools of their performance against the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions and other established international good practices for auditing. Participants agreed that SAI PMF is an important input for the working programme. The framework should however be able to consider differences at country level. Members were encouraged to take note of the SAI PMF high level strategy.

Participants discussed the need to have a framework regarding quality control including the existence of a specia unit for this. There was a general agreement that if SAIs fail on quality, then there are consequences including the reputation of their work.

 

 

 

On the occasion of the 36th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC Summit), we the undersigned members of the Coalition for an Effective SADC Tribunal, are raising serious concerns over state parties insistence in denying access to justice to the citizenry of this region as per the revised SADC Tribunal Protocol. The Protocol strips the Tribunal of its jurisdiction to hear complaints from individual citizens of SADC. This is inspite of the guaranteed right for people’s participation in the SADC Declaration and Treaty under Article 23.

SADC remains an important sub-regional community though still characterized by varying atrocities and human rights violations with impunity, human and drug trafficking, violence against women and children, migration, mineral exploitation, election rigging and other concerns which the SADC Heads of State and Government committed to address in line with SADC Protocols. However therevised SADC Tribunal Protocol is in conflict with the SADC Declaration and Treaty and undermines human rights protection in the region. It further, limits citizens, civil society organizations and other non-states actors’accessto the Tribunal by only granting this access to state parties.

The SADC Tribunal was designed to be a fair impartial court where citizens could hold their governments accountable and seek redress for the violation of rights and the current Protocol threatens these important rights. Therefore we once again call on member states that have signed the revised SADC Tribunal Protocol to refrain from ratifying the revised Protocol as it violates and runs counter to the spirit and principles of the SADC Treaty, including the protection of human rights, rule of law, democracy and public participation.In addition, the revised Protocol, by removing a forum for access to justice in the region, may be responsible for aggravating human rightsviolations in the SADC region. We further call on those who have not signed to refrain from signing and to advocate for an inclusive Tribunal that will serve the needs of the people of SADC.

Signed by Members of the Coalition for an Effective SADC Tribunal:

 

  • Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia,(Angola)
  • Auwal Socio-Economic Research Institute, ( South Africa)
  • Centre For Human Rights-Pretoria, (South Africa)
  • Centro de Estudos Moçambicanos e Internacionais, (Mozambique)
  • Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (Malawi),
  • Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, (South Africa)
  • Citizen Engagement Platform Seychelles, (Seychelles)
  • CIVICUS, (South Africa)
  • Lawyers for Human Rights-Swaziland, (Swaziland)
  • Malawi Law Society, (Malawi)
  • Human Rights Institute of South Africa, (South Africa)
  • Institute For Democracy and Leadership, (Swaziland)
  • South African Litigation Centre (South Africa)
  • Southern African Christian Initiative (Namibia)
  • SADC-CNGO (Botswana)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (Zimbabwe)

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