Presenting ALAT proposals to members of the Constituent Assembly, the association chairperson, Dr Didas Masaburi asked the CA members to change the local authorities from legislative issue as it is today to constitutional matter.
“The central government, institution or any person should never have power to stop, reduce or interfere with activities and responsibilities of the local authorities unless there is abuse of powers by such authorities as per the constitution,” proposed Dr Masaburi.
The proposal, he added, seeks to limit some leaders with ill intention against power decentralisation from frustrating the execution of the policy.
The proposal document that Dr Masaburi presented before the CA members at the ALAT organized seminar also advocates independence for local authorities to prepare sustainable development and administrative programmes in their areas.
For empowerment of the local authorities financially for effective execution of their responsibilities, taxes, fees and levies depending on a particular area, are proposed sources of revenues.
Allocation of revenues from the central government according to responsibilities of the local authorities should be another source of financing activities at the local level.
Debating the proposals, many CA members supported the document, admitting a lot of weaknesses in the local government authorities.
Mr Moses Machali proposed the empowerment of local governments as a strategy to empowering wananchi, supporting the idea of eliminating the posts of district commissioners as a solution to empowering district chairpersons and municipal/city mayors who are elected by the citizens.
Another CA member, Ms Veronica Sofu from Mbalali decried the current setting whereby the central government plans almost everything but there is no close supervision to ensure that such plans were well executed at the grassroots level.
She also asked for uniformity in taxation system, saying the current taxing framework where every district decide what and how much to tax was divisive and embarrassing:
“Especially for farmers, it sometimes gives a feeling that Mbalali district and Iringa are two different countries due to high discrepancy in taxation.”
Mr Fredirick Msigala pushed for the new constitution to recognise the participation of the disabled at the grassroots level, “and the only way to ensure that development is disabled friendly is through involving them in decision making at all levels, constitutionally.”
Closing the seminar, Ms Hawa Ghasia, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Regional Administration and Local Government, urged members to remain united towards ensuring that the issues of local government authorities were well accommodated in the coming constitution.