Tanzania states why it opted out of Open Government Partnership

Saturday September 30 2017

 

By Syriacus Buguzi @buguzi sbuguzi@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Substantiating its move to leave Open Government Partnership (OGP), the government said it had already subscribed to other initiatives with similar objectives as a substitute.

This comes about ten days after a Global Steering Committee of the OGP met during the UN General Assembly in New York to advance the global discourse and agenda on the OGP initiative.

The country pulled out of the initiative more than three months ago, throwing into doubt the government reforms that had been initiated by former President Jakaya Kikwete who championed the initiative since 2011.

A letter explaining the government’s decision was this week on Friday 29th published on the OGP website.

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In the letter, addressed to the OGP Steering Committee, dated 29th June 2017,  the Minister of Foreign affairs and East Africa Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga explained that the government has recently enacted the Access to Information Act of 2016 which promotes access to information and disclosure about  activities at every level of the government.

He said the government was already party to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) which advocates similar objectives as those in the OGP.

“We believe that our membership to different initiatives with similar objectives will hinder our participation,’’ said Dr Mahiga in a letter with Ref No: CLB 128/244/01/82. However, he said Tanzania would continue assessing its membership with the OGP.

In response to the decision, the OGP co-chairs sent a letter to the government of Tanzania on behalf of the Steering Committee on September 12, 2017, expressing disappointment at the withdrawal.

“We are disappointed to lose such an active member of the partnership,’’ said the letter, but expressed hope that Tanzania’s decision would be reconsidered in future.

However, according to the letter, the municipality of Kigoma-Ujiji, one of the fifteen subnational pioneers of the OGP subnational program would continue to participate in OGP despite the national decision.

Since 2011 when Tanzania joined the OGP, it has been investing in the initiative with high hopes of making government business more open to its citizens.

It became the second African country after South Africa to have joined the partnership, out of 80 countries around the World. Tanzania is among the Africa eight countries that opted to join OGP at that time.