Tanzania: Members of Parliament irked by slow implementation of APRM

By Shout-Africa Tanzania Correspondent, Dodoma – Members of Parliament were on Friday bitter against noted sluggishness in the implementation of an African instrument of assessing good governance-the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) in Tanzania.

APRM is a voluntary institution of the African Union initiated in 2002 for the sole task of assessing good governance across the continent for accelerating the adoption of best practices and policies, promotion of good governance, human rights and viable economic development. Tanzania signed to the mechanism in 2004 but was to date trailing behind in the implementation of key processes.

Two House members who also sit in the APRM Tanzania chapter’s National Governing Council, John Shibuda (Chadema-Maswa West) and Martha Umbulla (CCM-Special Seats) questioned as to why Tanzania was sluggish in the process.

“The African Union has basically copied the APRM thing from the policies of TANU and CCM which stressed on the need for self critic and then change for the betterment of the society. But Tanzania is far back compared with other APRM member states,” wondered Mr. Shibuda accusing the Minister responsible for APRM coordination in Tanzania, Bernard Membe for not being active in leading the process.

On her party, Hon. Umbulla wanted the government to accelerate the APRM process so that Tanzanians can benefit from it like other African countries. She was also of the view that the APRM Secretariat in Tanzania should be accorded with an independent legal entity status so that it can function with much intended freedom.

The same stance was issued by the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Security which recommended to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure that the APRM process in Tanzania is accelerated by also paying arrears worth USD 700,000 to the Continental Secretariat.

On its part the shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ezekiel Wenje wondered why Tanzania was trailing behind in the APRM process. He accused government of laziness as six years since the AU agreement on APRM was ratified by the Parliament, nothing really was happening locally unlike in other neighbouring countries namely Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

“Apart from a government clarification on this matter, we also want the country self assessment report to be discussed by the Parliament before the President is peer reviewed by his fellow African leaders,” said Mr. Wenje. Other MPs who demanded to know implementation of APRM included Erasto Zambi (CCM) and Said Arfi (Chadema).

Responding to the queries, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe conceded that Tanzania was behind in the implementation of the APRM process and promised to ensure that the country is back on track.

“The process is in its final stages. We have our own self assessment report which has highlighted on our performances and weaknesses in areas of politics and democracy, education and healthy 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 and audit the way our country implemented the APRM,” said Minister Membe who also assured the House that the final report will be discussed by the Parliament. The Ministry allocated Sh. 2.049bn for APRM related activities.