Raia Mwema on OGP: missed opportunity

Raia Mwema: usually one of Tanzania's more progressive and thoughtful newspapers

The long standing demand of good governance activists and those standing up to the secrecy surrounding public leaders’ wealth may be about to be addressed.

Raia Mwema has got its hands on a document proposing changes to the Public Leadership Code of Ethics Act including proposals to make wealth declarations public.

That, in translation, is Tanzania weekly Raia Mwema‘s opening paras on today’s front page splash, pictured above (online version is a week behind). They go on:

This document discusses the implementation of the Tanzania Open Government Partnership, to commence this year, similar to decisions made by the President of the United States, Barack Obama as well as by Brazil.

Raia Mwema is of course discussing Tanzania’s draft Open Government Partnership (OGP) plan. You can see it here,  on the central OGP website, or here on the Tanzanian government site  Any suggestion that they have some exclusive access is empty posturing. It has been out there for two and a half months. Pretence at exclusive access when discussing a download is common in the Tanzanian press.

So after all this time, what new insights has Raia Mwema to give us on the issue of leaders’ wealth declarations?

Our government sources say that some leaders opposed this proposal as they say it will cause trouble between the people and their leaders, while others who support the proposal say that those who got their wealth legitimately have nothing to fear.

With sources like that, Woodward and Bernstein can rest easy.

So what did Raia Mwema miss on the wealth declaration issue? Off the top of my head: any inquiry into the likelihood of it actually being implemented; any consideration of why Civil Society Organisations have been so quiet on these proposals; any thought given to support to these proposals from a couple of prominent politicians; any questioning of the appropriateness of proposed support from the Canadian government to the Ethics Secretariat.

It might have made for a good story – and it may have improved the quality of public dialogue on OGP, politicians and civil servants’ conflicts of interest and how we can move forward.

Discussion of Tanzania’s OGP commitments here have been uniformly pessimistic, but have sought to engage with the issues. By failing to do so, Raia Mwema has been truly cynical. And that makes me more pessimistic about OGP success in Tanzania.

4 responses to “Raia Mwema on OGP: missed opportunity

  1. One could change the names and it would look a lot like Ireland. Do they have a printer cartridge allowance over there by any chance?

  2. Michael Brian Harrison

    You have become most gloomy. An impressive translation though. You learnt Kiswahili from scratch in Tanzania?

  3. Thanks. My first teacher was Irish, in Dublin. She had us playing at buying mangos at the genge in a high celinged classroom on Fitzwilliam Square. A lot done, more to do.

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