Why changes at regional and district levels are unavoidable

Wednesday April 07 2021
changes pic

By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. Changes at the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities) were inevitable, analysts say, noting that what President Samia Suluhu Hassan has so far done points to more changes at the regional and district levels.

Since assuming office on March 19, 2021, President Hassan has made a number of changes at Ministerial (Ministers and Permanent Secretaries with their deputies) and in big public institutions.

On Sunday, March 28, when receiving reports of the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), she told the-then minister, Mr Jafo, to keep an eye on revenues and expenditures within LGAs, saying she was disappointed by the massive revenue losses in the docket.

According to the CAG, about 185 Local Government Authorities (LGAs) were audited during the 2019/2020 Fiscal Year out of which, only 124 received unqualified opinion reports with 53 received adverse opinion reports while eight were given qualified opinion, a move that causes the Head of State concern.

“This is the last warning I am giving to you. If you fail again, please ask for help from us,’’ she told Mr Jafo.

That was followed by a Cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday, March 31 whereby Mr Jafo was moved from the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities) to Ministry of State in the Vice President’s Office, Union and Environment.


Now analysts say that eyes and ears of Tanzanians will see and hear some changes in regional and District level.

Former CAG Ludovick Utouh expects to see reshuffles of Regional Commissioners (RCs), Regional Administrative Secretaries (Ras), District Commissioners (DCs), and District Administrative Secretaries (Das) as well as District Executive Directors (DEDs).

“Reshuffles of appointed leaders is an obvious thing in any new regime. The president makes changes when he/she sees things are not happening in a way they are supposed to be,” he said.

He defined the changes as an important tool for the president/regime to put close the most trusted and competent disciples who would, accordingly, deliver.

A political analyst at the University of Dodoma, Dr Paul Luisulie, said reshuffling regional and district appointees cannot be avoided.

“They might not be dropped out from their origin positions; but I expect to see some relocated to other places or positions, with others being promoted or demoted. We may see new faces, too,” he noted.

He described the changes of the leaders to both ministerial and regional and district levels as a sign of President Hassan trying to show her seriousness on re-shaping the ministries.

“The ministry of Regional Administration and Local Government is big and important for any politician leader because it touches the lives of the people directly,” he said.

According to him, the ministry deals with crucial issues, including health and education, which majority of voters are wishing to access them.

“A reshuffle is inevitable there to motivate people to work hard and abide with the servant laws and values. It also reminds public servants that the job is not permanent and everyone will be promoted or demoted,” said Dr Luisulie.

He believes that the reshuffle will also help to improve the revenue collections and expenditures with RALG docket.

A lecturer at the University of Dodoma, Mr Frank Tilly, shared similar sentiments, saying the changes were a clear indication that President Hassan was looking up to a performing team.

“The President cannot change anything in the RALG docket if she remains with the same people at the regional and district levels. She needs new people with new ideas, energy and morale to work hard; people who improve revenue collections and minimize expenditures,” he said.

He, however, advised President Hassan to start reducing the size of the ministry of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) in order to make it manageable.

“Honestly speaking, the ministry is too big to be managed by a single minister. The president must start cutting its size by assigning some responsibilities to other ministries so that it can be better-managed,” he stated.

On murmurs that President Hassan has not gone far enough, an interviewee who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter and her current position said it is understandable that the new Head of State is being extra careful in effecting changes.

“It should be remembered that Samia was part of the previous government as Vice President, so it’s absurd for anybody to expect her to completely overhaul what her predecessor left behind within a short time. It’s worth remembering that it’s not yet even a month since she was sworn in. She needs to project an image of continuity as she effects the necessary changes…it’s a delicate balancing act, which she’s executing almost to perfection.”

She said President Hassan is being tactful by making changes in some sensitive positions while retaining their previous holders in government.

“We saw that when she reshuffled the Cabinet, and also in her new lineup of permanent secretaries. Plenty of accusing fingers have been pointed at some of those involved in the changes, but nobody has been sacked so far. Samia doesn’t want to be seen as throwing out of government people who were regarded as key individuals in Magufuli’s government…it’s enough to just clip their wings for now.”

She said changes in a government are a continuous process, and Tanzanians should expect more reorganisation of President Hassan’s government and its key institutions in the next four years ahead of the 2025 elections.