The opportunities and obstacles to development planning method used in Tanzania’s decentralized local governments: A case of Rulenge and Murusagamba Wards in Ngara District of Kagera Region
Gapchojiga, Fabian Mefunya
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Under the policy of Decentralization by Devolution, Tanzania’s Government decentralized the planning to Local Governments. However, Local Government Authorities and the public are not yet fully responsive to or participating in the Government’s Opportunities and Obstacles to Development (O&OD) planning methodology. This study examines factors impeding the desired achievements of O&OD planning method and explains the lack of public enthusiasm and the hindrance to public participation in Village Development projects of O&OD method. In a case study design on the Rulenge and Murusagamba Wards, this investigation sampled a total of two hundred and two respondents; one hundred and twenty two from the ordinary wananchi and the rest are members of Village Council, Village Facilitating Team, Councilors, Ward Executive Officers, Members of District Departments, Village Executive Officers and Regional Planning Officer. The data extracted from the respondents were backed up by the researcher’s observations, questionnaires, scheduled interviews, focused-group discussions and the review of the related studies. The study employed more of qualitative data analysis. The researcher found that O&OD method is confronted by structural issues and management issues. The structural issues include lack of technical and physical capacity which constrains many people from substantial information on the importance of participatory planning, their actual role, and how/why they should get involved in the decision-making in their localities. The lack of technical capacity among the Ward Facilitators inhibits them from making plans that meets the prescribed standards, due to inadequate skills or‘ know how’ in collecting data, and in compiling whatever data is available for the purposes of planning. Management issues affect the service delivery of facilitators, inhibiting them from catalyzing the public to appreciate and present inputs in the discussion in participatory planning. In a nut shell, insufficient community participation is growing deviation from the philosophical and moral obligations of the Arusha Declaration (1967), upon which each individual has a fervent duty to the wellbeing of the nation instead of nurturing the current wanachi mindset that isolates from participation in reaction to the perception of a current Tanzanian Government that has fallen short of high community expectations - privatizing the gain and socializing the loss in development projects. A Local Government Council feedback to the public on how public expectations/plans coincides, complements or deviate from Tanzania’s yearly budget of fundable development projects would motivate public participation and cause practical engagements of the public into the LGA.