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MPs unhappy with internal governance assessment pace

25th July 2011
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John Shibuda (Chadema)

Members of Parliament have expressed dissatisfactions with the slow progress in the implementation of the country’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) assessment process on the aspect of good governance.

Two MPs, who also sit in the APRM Tanzania Chapter’s National Governing Council, John Shibuda (Chadema) and Special Seats Martha Umbulla (CCM), queried why Tanzania was lagging behind.

APRM is an African Union (AU)’s voluntary institution initiated in 2002 to assess good governance across the continent. It also aims to accelerate the adoption of best practices and policies as well as promote good governance, human rights and viable economic developments. Tanzania signed the APRM in 2004 but was to date still lagging behind in the implementation of APRM’s key objectives.

“The AU has basically copied the APRM from Tanu and CCM policies, which stressed the need for self-critic and changes for the betterment of society. But Tanzania is far behind compared with other APRM member states,” said Shibuda in Parliament on Friday.

For her part, Umbulla wanted the government to accelerate the APRM process so that Tanzanians could benefit from it like other African countries. She was also of the view that the APRM secretariat in the country should be accorded with independent legal status to function freely.

A similar stand was given by the parliamentary Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security committee, which recommended to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to ensure that the APRM process in the country was accelerated by paying arrears worth USD 700,000 it owed the APRM secretariat.

Meanwhile, Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ezekiel Wenje, accused the government of laziness as six years since the AU agreement on APRM was ratified by the Parliament; nothing had worked satisfactorily unlike in other neighbouring countries like Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

“Apart from the government’s clarification on this matter, we also want the country’s self-assessment report to be discussed by Parliament before the President is assessed by his fellow African leaders,” he said.

Other MPs who queried on the implementation of the APRM in the country included Erasto Zambi (CCM) and Said Arfi (Chadema).

Responding to the queries, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation minister Bernard Membe admitted that Tanzania had lagged behind in the implementation of the APRM process and promised to ensure it was back on track.

“The process has reached the final stage. We have our own self-assessment report, which has highlighted our performance and weaknesses in areas of politics and democracy, education, health and economic management.

“In September this year, another milestone will be reached. A team of APRM experts from other African countries will come to Tanzania to evaluate how our country implemented the APRM,” said Membe.

He also assured the House that the final APRM report would be brought and discussed in Parliament. Membe had earlier told the House that 2.049bn/- had been allocated for APRM related activities in the 2011/12 fiscal year.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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