1.0 IntroductionTheConstitution of URT, 1977 article 145(1) explain the establishment of localGovernment Authorities not only that butthe power given to the Parliament to enact law which will provide directives onhow 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 haveauthority power to participate in planning and policy implementation atgrassroots level and the local government should have that responsibilities ofmaking sure that the community are engaged fully on the development (URT,1977). Localgovernment Authorities in Tanzania was officially established after theenactment of law as per the power vested to the Parliament in 1982. Theimportant Legislation enacted for the operationalization of the establishmentof Local Government Authorities were; The Local Government (DistrictAuthorities) 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 GovernmentNegotiating Machinery Act, 1982, No.11 of 1982.
Due to this the year 1982 wasremarkably for the introduction of governance at local government authorities.Therefore,the argument for the governance on Village level will be discussed wherebytheories governing village level, Governance Structure, Citizen participationin decision making will be identified, Mechanisms are available and Mechanism to hold Leader into account will beobserved, how effective the Village Bunge is will be asked and suggestion toimprove governance will be given in village level. 2. Theoretical andEmpirical Review on Governance in Village Level2.1 Theoreticalframework guiding village structure and governanceInTanzania there are three governing principle endorsed by the policy ofsocialism and Self reliance as introduced by Mwalimu Nyerere in 1967 whichincludes equality among the community, shared respect for all families and community participationin the development of their own village. It is though this policy whichfacilitated the development of various strategies which directed theformulation of villages which was commonly known as Ujamaa village (Hyden,1980)Accordingto Sikander (2015), Forje J (2006).
Argued that local government authority arethe result of decentralisation of administration at lower level, whereby thelaw are made at Central Government and are implemented at the grassroots withthe assumption that community are vested with power to decide what they want todo in terms of planning while there is high dependency of resources fromcentral level.. (Tidemand,2008), explained thatdecentralisation theory as among the framework that governing Village levelgovernance as it refers to the delegation of the responsibilities that weresupposed to be performed by the central government and hence are transferred tothe low level of the government structure in order be performed by thecommunity themselves . Moreover when the government is giving power to makedecision and to power to decide on how policies should be implemented to thecommunity level is where devolution policy came in to practice (ibid). The village level implementing the policy ofD by D which gives mandate leaders at the grassroots to perform their task asstipulated in the law.
According to the study done by Massoi, (2009) revealedthat the aim of the policy to bring government closer to the people have beenwell articulated both from the political, academic and government perspective.The policy implementation has challenges specifically for those whom theresponsibilities are vested that are the grassroots level (Shivji, 2003)Thetheory decentralization insist the activeness of community to participate ondecision making process because it is vital aspect that guiding administrationof Village level. According URT, (1982) explained that at the village levelthere are two main organs for decision making which are Village Assembly (VA)and Village Council (VC). The Village Assembly comprises of adult community memberat that particular jurisdiction, It’s the VA which elect member of not lessthan 15 and not more than 25 to form VC preceded by the Chair who is electedfrom the VA before other member also, other member involved are the chairman ofVitongoji.Thegoverning structure that exists in Tanzania at the grassroots level is theoutcome of the implementation of the decentralization policy which emphases ontransferring of authority items of functions and responsibilities of thecentral government to the communities at lower level in order to empower themto decide on they own development plans. The government intends to give morepower to the community to decide what they what to be done at the communitylevel. 2.2 GovernanceStructure at Village.
The Village have official who are selected by the residentsof the particular village to assume responsibilities of leadership. This official are dealing with all matterconcerning policy implementation at village level while there is VillageExecutive Officer (VEO) whom are employee of the government and are tasked tooversee all administrative authority within the Village. The emphasis is thatVillage level is the full governing entity whereby leader at the village arevested power by the law established them (URT, 1982).
URT (2003) indicated key aspect on governance inTanzania which is transparency, Stakeholders Participation, legal and judicialframework, combating corruption and accountability. Therefore, the governancestructure at village level is key actors on fulfilment of the governance aspectat local level. It was observed that the existing structure of governance atvillage level are characterised with struggling of administrative duty from theelected member with VEO within the Villageby so doing policy implementation issues are left behind which then facilitate most of the village to facechallenges 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 currentgovernance structure at the Village level are characterised with overlapping ofadministrative and political function which are the outcome of unclear legislative authority given to the leaderswithin the Village level ( Elected leader and VEO). Therefore, in order tostrengthen governance at village level the current structure (VA and VC) shouldbe given power and mandate to make the final decision regarding developmentissues within their jurisdiction.
However,regardless of the existence of the organised framework guiding structure andgovernance at Village level to foster development at grassroots communityleaders at village level were reported that they are not responsible tofacilitate the process. This have be declared by the retired chairmen of theManka Village when he says that ”community did not take into consideration theimportance of electing candidates whom are committed to devote his/her time onthe issues related to development of the Village rather they focus on politicalaffiliation”. The existence of political influence was reported to becontributing factor for the community to ignore the power vested to themrelated to plan on their own development.2.
3 Citizensparticipation in decision makingInvolvementof the community to the decision made at Village level are highlyencourage, leaders of the village wereinstructed by the law to ensure that their residents take charge in all matter relatedto the development at their jurisdiction. Participation of the Citizen in decision making at low level authorityare the key driver as it give them legitimacy and ability to demand foraccountability among elected leaders and other official at Village level (Graham, 2008).Participationof the Citizen at a village level are guided by variety of theories among them are (1) Decision makingtheory which emphasis on the democraticmechanisms should be adhered on decision making at Village level, therefore thedecision made within the village should be based on the assumption that thosewhom are affected by the decision should be given right to be involved full ondecision making process (Nyerere,1972), (2) the decentralisation theory whichexplaining and indicates how the central authority should transfer power andresponsibilities to the lower level, in order to give citizen the legal powerto plan and executing decision regardingdevelopment within their localities (Smoke, P. 2003)Accordingto the interview done via phone with chairperson and VEO for Manka Villagelocated at Same District Council revealed that the attendance of the statutorymeeting of the residents at the village level is very bad and facilitated themnot to hold the previous quarter meeting.
They both identified reasons for lowattendance such as community does not take in to consideration the importanceof the meeting and they complained that the information for the meeting are notgiven on time. This is also supported bythe study done by Kaminyonge, (2008) which revealed the similar findings.Itwas also said that there is misconception that the statutory village meetingare organised to fulfil the needs of political affiliation of the villageleaders specifically those whom were elected hence community are not willinglyaccepting to attend fully due to political diversity of the residents hencedenial their right to participate during decision making process at the villagelevel. Therefore,there is a need to clarify political dichotomy existing in our countriesspecifically at village level in order to eliminate the existing misconceptionand hence to capacitate the community on the important of attending thestatutory village meeting. 2.
4 Mechanismsare available to and applied to holders leaders into accountThe Village level in Tanzania comprises two types ofleader that exist, those who are elected headed by Village chairperson and other elected member from VC whichhave the key role of managing policy formulation but there is no salaries paidto them. The other categories are those who are employed by the government.The procedure to hold both leaders accountablediffer due to the fact that each one of the leader at Village level came intopower in a different way. The public servants VEO are accountable on the basisThe Government Standing Order of 2009 while chairperson of the Village may beremoved from his/her position through election or petitions for recall whichwill be sent to the District Commission and requesting him/her to attendimpersonal in VA in order to handle the matter concerning removal from theposition of the Village Chairman (URT,1982). It was revealed that citizen arenot aware of the procedures of making their leader accountable rather they waittill election therefore leader take advantage to do what they think is rightfor them and not for the benefit of citizen at large. Chairman said no leaderhave been reported accountable at Manka Village for the past 20 years but nochairman have been re-elected to the position after end of his/her tenure. Accordingto Moncrieffe J.
M. (2001) explained that holding elected or appointed officialsaccountable helped to ensure leaders are answerable for specific actions oractivities to the citizens from whom they derive their authority. Therefore itthen becomes the mandatory for them togive feedback on how the resource within the Village have been used and to whatextent was the intervention decided have been effected.
This has facilitatedthe introduction of development of quarterly progressive reports which aresubmitted to the higher level and are presented to the VA.2.5 VillageAssembly as village Bunge how effective it isIthas been observed that although section 141 of the 1982 Local Government Act gavesubstantial power to the VA and Section 142(1), (2) (a-e) which shows thefunctions that should be performed by the VA.
According to the study done byJonathan (2002) he observed that although VA has vested all power to do whatseems to be good to the residents but it lack the operative provision whichstipulate how these procedures should happen, he added that in practice thevillage Assembly behave like an electoral college not a decision making bodywith ultimate powers of control and supervision over other village organs.Therefore there is a need to revise the existing power and mandate of theVillage Bunge in order to make them effective in decision making process andenforcement.2.6 Whatneeds to be done to improve governance in the Village?Thegovernance at Village level needs to be improved, according to the observationraised by the chairman from Manka Village of misconception which also wassupported by scholar on the necessity to capacitate the community in order tohave full participation of statutory meeting which was hindered mainly byexisting misconception.
Itwas observed that there is a need to change the legal framework governingVillage the Law was enacted during the reform era there is a lot of changeswhich need to be accommodated due to the changes of technology and increaseddemand, diversity of the community.