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Want to join Cabinet? You leave Bunge first!

In the new constitution, he wants two five-year term limits for the position of Member of Parliament so as to give more Tanzanians the opportunity to serve at that level. But there is more to his wish for the next new constitution. He proposes that the Cabinet should not to be plucked out of Parliament; a practice the young man believes contradicts the principle of separation of powers.

His view is shared by his seniors and many other citizens who have been giving their suggestions to the Constitution Review Commission in Singida Region. People like 40 year old Elias Shela, a teacher at Ulemo village in the district prefers that Legislators should neither be ministers nor Regional Commissioners and District Commissioner,suggesting that once a Member of Parliament takes up such positions,then his or her Bunge position gets vacant.

The teacher also wants the constitution to note that being a Legislator is a voluntary job without salary but with just allowances. “Those salaries should be given to village chairpersons, ward executives and councilors, using the national ‘cake’ to motivate every leader at different levels,”he says He also suggested that Parliament should not have the authority to discuss the issues that concern their interests like salaries, allowances or benefits.

Also in support of two five-year terms for MPs, Shela adds that says ministers should not be Legislators and instead should be pooled from experts to manage the country’s ministries and that civil servants should be employed on performance based contracts. Focussed on the cabinet’s size, Lanislaus Mssawe, a 22-year old student at Kinampanda Teacher Training College suggests that the post of deputy ministers should be erased on grounds of cutting administrative costs of government.

At Nduguti village in Mkalama District, Onesforo Msangi, a 37-year old farmer, also says Members of Parliament should not be ministers because that responsibility keeps them away from attending to concerns of the constituency that elected them into Parliament in the first place. To him, the government should review the entire administrative setup of the whole country in terms of local and central government.

The few key issues others raised include the type of government structure they want as a country, where the country is going, number of regions the country should have and how local governments are financed, how to administered local governments and what values each of them adds to wananchi in terms of taking services closer to the people. Elias Sheila,a 40 year old teacher at Uleno, also says Ministers should not be Legislators and instead should be pooled from experts to manage the country’s ministries and that civil servants should be employed on perfoemance based contracts.

Focussed on the cabinet’s size, Lanislaus Mssawe, 22 year old student at Kinampanda teachers college suggested that the post of deputy ministers should be erased on grounds of cutting administrative costs of government. At Nduguti village in Mkalama district, Onesforo Msangi, 37, a farmer, said Members of Parliament should not be Ministers because that responsility keeps them away from attending to concerns of the constituency that elected them into Parliament.

Paul Wilack, 47, a teacher and resident at Mgundo village said Members of Parliament should have term limits of ten years and that cabinet should be less than 24, with 10 ministers and 14 deputy ministers. Twenty two year old Lanislaus Masawe, a student at Kinampanda says there should be two terms for Legislators just as the President.

Another farmer, Paul Zuberi 47, at Nduguti village in Mkalama district, also holds the view that Members of Parliaments should not be appointed as ministers because it makes them busy resulting them into not paying attention to the needs of their constituents,yet it is them who legitimately elected them as Legislators. His view is shared by Said Mwendi,a 60 year old farmer at Luzumu village at Nduguti ,who says Ministers should not be picked from Members of Parliament but experts vetted and given the job on performance contracts basis.

For Jacob Daniel,26, an extension officer at Nduguti , ministers should be experts of the disciplines in the ministries they are allocated. He also suggests that Village Extension Officers get paid monthly salaries to motivate them since they are closest to wananchi and put a condition that their minimum level of education should be diploma. However, one of the Constitution Review Commission members Mr Humphery Polepole asked him whether education level means one would be a good leader.

Daniel answered in the affirmative, noting that such leaders are meant to lead their immediate people towards development and thus needed to understand issues of development by virtue of the fact that they have some level of education. Edward Lukumbo, an electrician at Mwangeza village, also says ministerial appointments should be consistent with professions of the respective individuals,to ensure that the ministers are not just political heads but capable at the subject matter of the ministries they head But Jonas Manaza, 40, a farmer at Mwangeza village, says the cabinet should not be appointed but employed through a strict merit based process that considers their professions and capacity at those disciplines ,and subsequently approved by Parliament

Petro Samson, a 49 year old councilor at Mwangeza says the cabinet should not be appointed by the President and neither should it come from Parliament. He says that while the President should be privy to the process of their approval, they should be employed through a strict merit based vetting process and approved by Parliament. Term limits for MPs Jackson Mwendo, a 67-year-old farmer at Kasumbula Village wants two terms for MPs, while Meedy Charles 27, in the same village wants MPs not to be ministers buy remain in the House to legitimately serve their electorates.

However, Waziri Hussein, the councilor for Gutemanga ward wants councillors and MPs to be given a special organ to hold them to account just as other bodies are. Kiula Mwendo, 36, a farmer at Ikungu and holding a journalism degree says the numerical size of Parliament is already overwhelming, meaning that it is extended to public finances supporting the whole lot. He, therefore, suggests that in order to reduce financial burden on the country’s public coffers, the constitution should lower the ceiling on the number of Legislators there can be.

Morals Ernest Yoana, a 50-year-old tailor at Kinto Village, views that there has been high degradation of morals and ethics across the country among both young and old, and wants a special ethics ministry set up specifically for that purpose. As the collection of peoples’ views continues, it is clear that the country too needs the middle class to control. From comments coming from this region, it is clear that many a time, the electorate lose trust in the people they elect into elective posts and yet feel don’t have the means to hold them to account immediately. It is important that the next constitution rebuilds that trust.

It should also create conditions to build a strong middle class with vested economic interests. Like Dambisa Moyo says in her book, a middle class in which individuals trust each other (and have a court to go to if trust breaks down) and that respects and defends the rule of law:a middle class that has a stake in seeing its country run smoothly and under a transparent legal framework: a middle class (along with the rest of the population) that can hold its government accountable.

Above all, a middle class needs a government that will let it get a head. This not to imply that Tanzania does not have a middle class; it does. Without a strong economic voice, a middle class is powerless to take its government to task.With easy access cash, a government remains all-powerful,accountable only(and only then nominally) to its aid donors.

Inhibited in its growth,the middle class never reaches that critic mass that historically has proven essential for a country’s economic and political success. In most functioning and health economies, the middle class pays taxes in return for government accountability and citizens have a real voice. A politically involved citizenry are the backbone of longer- term sustainable development.

AS the globe continue to tackle the Covid-19 ...

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Author: ORTON KIISHWEKO Majengo, Singida

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