Posted on | mei 4, 2011 | 1 Comment
The Tanzanian Government has been asked to change its attitude towards NGOs that are critical to its governance style and those which by their nature they make a close follow up on accountability. The call was part of the deliberations during the Policy Forum debate at the British Council on Friday last week. They cited some cases whereby the Government had even threatened to deregister some NGOs that were identified as involving themselves in politics quite contrary to their registration.
The issue in discussion was how the HakiElimu which deals with accountability in education was once criticized that it was overcritical on how the Government was faring in the education sector. Another example was how the Tanzania Media Women Association (TAMWA) which was threatened of deregistration last year during the General Election on claims that it was involving itself in politics contrary to its registration.
The Topic For Discussion Was “Is CSO- Government Collaboration Critical to Good Governance In Tanzania? Presentations were aimed at discussing the trend in relations and cooperation in regard to the delivery of services in Tanzania.
Presenting the paper ‘Beyond Service Delivery and Advocacy’, Kenny Manara who is the consultant with an NGO Resource Centre, Aga Khan Foundation said that the cooperation between civil society organizations and the Governemnt is significant but due to the nature of some of them they have been regarded as being overcritical.
Manara said the CSOs are diverse in character and they have been formed for various interests which at times can bring them to conflicts with the Government. He identified such NGOs as those dealing with good governance, human rights and accountability.
“It is very difficult to find an NGO dealing with HIV/Aids or poverty reduction in direct confrontation with the Government or the president; these are considered as partners but for those which are scrutinizing expenditures in the central or local governments are prone to enter into conflict with the Governemnt frequently,” said Manara.
He mentioned that the NGOs which have been in constant conflicts with the Government due to the nature of their activities as the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), TAMWA, HakiElimu and the National Organization for Legal Assistance (NOLA).
Recently one media house had condemned the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), foreign staff by calling them ‘spies’ who are working for the opposition Chama cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA), forgetting that there are other foundations from Germany who are working in partnership with other parties including the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi itself and the Civic United Front (CUF).
So far the FES from Germany has been working in partnership with the CCM but there have been no claims of espionages in their case. Moreover the CUF is working in partnership with the FNS. All these foundations are set to empower the citizenry in knowing their human rights and call for democratic practices.
On his part Dr Raymond Mnenwa a senior researcher from the Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), said that the CSO-Government partnership is crucial in development but added quickly that under certain circumstance the Government has been deliberately ignoring technical reports which are very resourceful.
“It is strange to find that when the World Bank uses our reports to verify certain issues from the Government that is when we are considered as important partners for clarifying technical issues,” said Dr Mnenwa.
He said that it was under such circumstances that the CSOs have decided to form strong alliances putting together their issues and operating with a single voice in order to bring the Governemnt to their close attention.
He added that these alliances like those of The Tanzania Association of Non Governmental Organizations (TANGO), Policy Forum and PACT Tanzania will enhance the voice of the CSO in reminding the Governemnt of its responsibility.
The discussant in the event Geir Sundet who is the director of the Accountability in Tanzania Programme (AcT), said Tanzania is good in collecting information and formulation of good policies, but the problem is in the implementation side.
Bitrina Diyamett who is the Executive Director of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS), Tanzania Chapter, said that the whole notion should be to change the attitudes of some Government functionaries after knowing to what extent they can accommodate constructive criticism.
Prof Samuel Wangwe who is the current director of REPOA counseled the NGOs to empower people from the grass root level and let them speak for themselves rather than portray themselves (the NGOs) as the champion of the downtrodden to the extent of entering into direct confrontation with the Government.
Teresa Yates a consultant for Policy Forum says it should be made clear that collaboration between the CSOs and the Government should not mean to undermine them when meeting it; instead it should be acknowledged that these are partners that must be engaged in the development process as part and parcel of the systems of check and balances.
AUTHOR: Elias Mhegera
E-MAIL: mhegeraelias [at] yahoo.com