Public dialogue uncovers weaknesses in village leadership

Lack of integrity among village executives, citizens’ little understanding of governance and civic issues as well as poor participation of local executives in village meetings are key factors behind the failure to exercise good governance.

This was revealed by citizens of Nanyamba ward, in Mtwara region during a public dialogue on good governance and accountability organised recently by Saidia Jamii Kuishi (SAJAKU) through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS). Over 250 citizens participated the dialogue and were able to raise their voices and concerns.

Contributing to a discussion, resident of Namkuku village, Mohamed Mwalimu, said many citizens in the village have little knowledge on the importance of the village or ward meetings, thus failing to attend meetings called by village executives.

A resident of Dinyecha village, Shamte Ahmad says lack of integrity among the village executives is a key reason as to why citizens do not show up in the village or ward meetings. He added that there is a need for them as citizens to be educated so that eventually the local authority executives can be held accountable when there’s misuse of public funds and resources.

“You will find out that the people do attend meetings, but when it comes to the reading of income and expenditure reports some ‘issues’ tend to arise leading to some misunderstandings. This is why citizens do not see the importance of attending these meetings though they are vital in executing the foundations of good governance,” says Shamte.

Hadija Lyangunde from Nanyamba village says the failure among the local executives in sensitizing citizens to attend the village and constituency meetings is one of the reasons for the citizens not to attending the meetings.

Hadija says, if local executives play their roles effectively in sensitizing the citizens to participate in public meetings, then the attendance will be good, and hence the pace of development in villages will increase for the realisation of good governance.

Facilitating the dialogue, Mr. Said Swallah, says good governance can only be achieved when the executives conduct meetings and the citizens attend them effectively.

Swallah says development cannot be achieved where good governance is not exercised. Thus it is very important for every person to perform his/her duties in line with the foundations of good governance.

While opening a session, the ward executive of Nanyamba, Hassan Mauji, reminded the village leaders on the importance of holding village meetings and writing the minutes that are to be forwarded in ward development committees, such that the very village plans are easily taken forward when reaching the district council deliberations.

Mauji says the absence of public meetings is not only going against the principles of good governance but delays the citizens’ development.

Basically this has been a big problem in our ward, we have witnessed citizens firing their leaders because of not conducting the village meetings. This is not a good thing... I have been running the ward development meetings as a chairperson of the committee, but you may find there are no minutes written by the village which literally means we have not conducted the meetings,” laments Mauji.

Prior to giving a welcoming note to the guest of honour in a reflection meeting also held recently, the executive secretary of SAJAKU, Nashiri Pontiya, said the objective is to raise more discussion around issues on good governance.



Seminar awakens education stakeholders in Ruangwa

Education stakeholders in Ruangwa district, Lindi region have confessed that it was not easy for them to enter in local government premises and interrogate on matters related to the use of public resources, including funds set aside for education development projects. But thanks God, gone are the days!

This was made known during a three-day capacity building training on Public Expenditure Tracking System (PETS) in education sector that brought together CSOs, secondary school boards and religious leaders from seven wards of the district. The PETS project has been coordinated by Asasi ya Kuunganisha Vijana Kimaendeleo Ruangwa (AKUVIKIRU) through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

In their reaction, citizens from the seven wards of Namichinga, Nambiranje, Nkowe, Likunja, Chinongwe, Makanjiro na Ruangwa admitted that they did not know that it is in their constitutional right to question and follow up on the development projects in secondary school education sector, so that all is implemented well and finished on time.


Mussa Mchupila says before attending the training most of the citizens were not capable of facing the secondary school board members as well as the head teachers, and forward their queries with regard to implementation of schools construction projects.

“I am certainly sure that after the training each one of us will have benefited and be aware of their responsibilities in following up on public resources and even question on students’ academic performances and teachers’ responsibilities,” said Mchupila from Nandandara village in Matambarale ward.

Another participant Paulina Mmuya from Likangara village in Namichinga ward said the training has opened their eyes on being able to know the amount of money set aside for development projects in education sector, particularly in secondary schools.

“For instance we have become aware that during the year 2011/2013 when funds were being requested for the project, the secondary school education budget in Ruangwa district was allocated TZS 67,000,000 - equivalent to 4 percent of the whole development budget for that year. And this was to go for the construction of the schools’ toilets, classrooms and staff houses, she added.

However, one of the training facilitators, Moris Lyimo, urged the participants not to be afraid and understand that they have lawful responsibility to follow up on any plans laid down for their schools’ development.

The project coordinator, Abdul Mitumba says it is very important for the citizens to know that it is not every fund allocated for schools’ development is being misused. But if the citizens get to know how much money is exactly allocated for the development projects (in their schools) then it will be easier to cab any misappropriation that may arise.

“Proper follow up will determine whether those entrusted with the public funds really do justice to the public resources for the sake of public interest. It is not acceptable to see citizens remaining silent when there is an obvious foul play in the construction, of say, libraries, and classrooms and/or teachers houses. Where then will your responsibilities be, questioned Mitumba.

Over 160 children benefit from training on morality

Elishadai Children Foundation has trained 160 children from Sokoni and Terrat ward in Semanjiro district on child development issues and upbringing through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

This was made known by the organisation’s coordinator, Mr. William Mwenda, when speaking to members and various other stakeholders of the organisation during a special training on child development and upbringing.

Mwenda said they have trained the children on phases with the aim of identifying different things that may be of help in their daily lives.

He said the training entailed issues of morality, self-awareness and stimulating the children’s sense of responsibility to the community. So far there a number of children that have changed for the better through the knowledge gained.

“Since we began training the children from these two wards we have seen some significant changes. Even some of the parents do acknowledge this. We plan to go further with our intervention in this northern zone since absence of these life skills may lead our children into moral decay and even expose them to further vulnerability,” added Mwenda.

He also said for the country to have children and youths with sound morality there is a dire need for the community and the CSOs in particular to work together and educate them on different matters related to morality.

Earlier on the training facilitator, Javes Sauni, said for CSOs that deal with community and children development to succeed - there has to be a robust guideline that is readily acceptable both from the government level and to the donors’ point of view.

He thus said there are times where organisations fail to reach their goals on providing basic education to the community because they lack some proper guidelines, let alone the issue of funds misuse.

 

CSO articulates social security needs for persons with disability

Our grantee in Kisarawe Furaha ya Wanawake Wajasiriamali kwa Viziwi Tanzania (FUWAVITA) has urged the government to support their course in overseeing the protection of social security needs of Persons with Disability (PWDs) so that in the end the special group is emancipated economically and hence becomes aware of its basic rights.

The remark was made by the secretary of a social security project at FUWAVITA, Aneth Gerama, when providing status of their project that seeks to distribute the social security Information, Education & Communication (IEC) materials to the PWDs. The materials aim at raising awareness to the PWDs’ rights and improve on their welfare.

She said the government is required to support the PWDs annually so that they emancipate themselves and know their rights in different sectors.

“We ask the government to support us and work to improve the functioning of its state apparatus for better protection of the disabled persons and hence ensure adherence of the laws in different sectors,” said Aneth.

FUWAVITA has been distributing IEC materials to women with disability for them to know their rights with regards to the 2010 Persons with Disabilities Act.

“We have trained women with disability in order for them to know their social security entitlements with regard to the 2010 Persons with Disabilities Act,” added Aneth.

She said the organisation has been working in Dar es Salaam and Pwani and has been able to reach out to more than 450 women with disability and hence discovered that many of the PWDs living in the remote areas are not knowledgeable on the use of sign language.

Aneth concluded that as up to now they have been able to distribute IEC materials on the social security of the PWDs according to the 2010 Act to over 200 women in Mkuranga and Kisarawe district through funds from the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS).

Elders enabled to face authorities for their due recognition

Nkasi district authority, in Rukwa region says it now recognises the challenges that the elders are facing and that there are various efforts made to ensure that the senior citizens live in a safe and secure environment.

The statement was said in mid July by the Nkasi District Commissioner, Mr. Iddi Hassan Kimanta, when opening a capacity building training for the elderly in the district and go through the constitution of Wazee na Maendeleo in Nkasi district (WAMANKA) funded by The Foundation for Civil Society.

He said one of the challenges that the elders face is not getting access to free medical services despite having in place the identity cards that allow them to access free medical services. He said the current arrangement seems not to be working as planned, and thus pose challenges in helping the senior citizens resolve their health related problems.

Kimanta said, as a government leader in Nkasi district he has seen the challenges and therefore he will have a discussion with other district council officials including the council’s executive director to find a way and help the elders - by integrating them in the Community Health Fund instead of simply relying on provision of the identity cards, which do not seem to serve the purpose.

He promised to sit with authorities and look for a possibility for the elders to get integrated into the Community Health Fund and the government to contribute for them, which may stand as a lasting solution to their problem.

“As I can see, the only solution to this problem is for the elders to be integrated into the community health fund which will help them to get medical services even at the approved pharmacies that accept the health insurance cards,” said Kimanta.
The district commissioner added that the issue of the elders’ pensions has already been forwarded to the government, and that strategies are underway to ensure that the elders get their rightful dues.

He urged the elders to be more united and create a strong union amongst them so that they raise their voices together – enough for their grievances and problems to be worked on instantly.

Chairman of WAMANKA, Victor Sadalla told the district commissioner that the government has been slow in resolving their problems – such that they sometimes get a feeling that they are no longer valued, while in actual fact they have contributed a lot to the country’s development.

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