Can Local Government Reforms in Tanzania Achieve Their Glory?


Jason Nkyabonaki


Reforms are processes which aim to meet organizational breakdown in order to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and responsiveness. Public sector reforms in in developing countries such as Tanzania have had the mission of transforming the public sector to provide quality services to the citizenry. At the lower level of local communities, local government reforms are at the pilot’s seat to ensure, participatory, responsive, accountable and transparent governance elements are in place. The 1998 LGRP under Decentralization by Devolution (D by D)is anchored on realizing the empowerment of local communities through ownership of the processes for decision-making and implementation of those decisions for poverty alleviation under the broad National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (MKUKUTA) in Kiswahili.

However, these reforms have not yielded the harvests expected. Services have not been of quality as hitherto claimed, governance at local levels has not significantly reached on the altar of celebrity for participation, accountability and improved living conditions. Many reasons have been advanced to explaining why reforms have not reached the altar of glory as expected. These include a debate on whether it’s the designing of these reforms or it is amalgamation of other factors that entail lack of resources and political commitment by national governments. We argue that, the intriguing factors for the failure of LGRP1 and the prospect for LGRP 11 2008-2013 entail the designing which is a legal framework, political commitment due to power politics (statism) and lack of resources and more importantly the capacity of the demand side (citizens). Therefore, through the scroll of literatures, we put it with certainty that there are many cross sectioning factors for the failures of public sector reforms and local government in particular to achieve the vision of reforms; where political commitment is crucial for reforms successes. Nevertheless, this does not imply that the reforms have not achieved any tangible results.


Tanzania , Reforms, Decentralization, Government


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