Research Papers (Articles)

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    Whom are you speaking for? Obstacles to participation encountered by special-seat councillors in Tanzanian Local Councils
    (Gender and Women Studies, 2023) Swai, Idda; Zeegers, Nicolle
    Abstract With the implementation of the special-seats programme at the local level of the Tanzanian government, special-seat representatives experience obstacles similar to those experienced by their counterparts in the Tanzanian parliament – the national level. It was established that because of these obstacles, the participation of these women councillors – defined as the attempts they make to affect decisions – is rather low compared to elected male and female councillors. This article focuses on the context in which special-seat councillors have to do their work and how this could partly explain the low participation. It addresses how the special-seat councillors function in practice, and how this compares to the functioning of councillors elected from the wards. The insights into their functioning are derived from data collected from four councils, observation of the meetings, and interviews with councillors between 2012 and 2014. The authors conclude that an improvement of accountability mechanisms would be important for increasing the participation of the special-seat councillors and propose three changes in the organization of the special-seats programme to bring this about.
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    Conflicts among councillors in the local government authorities: A tale of Msalala District Council
    (African Journal of Governance and Development, 2023) Swai, Idda Lyatonga; Uhahula, Faraja Cosmas; Ndesekio, Vicent Evarist; Nyakega, Chacha Timasi; Igulu, George
    This paper focused on conflicts among councillors in Tanzania's Local Government Authorities, where qualitative approaches were employed in data collection and analysis. The study focused on understanding the causes and effects of conflicts in the Local Government Authorities where Msalala District Council in Shinyanga Region was used as a case study. A sample of 22 participants was interviewed through mobile calls. Various local government documents, including the minutes of meetings and reports, were reviewed. The study found three types of conflicts at Msalala District Council. The conflict between the elected councillors themselves, conflicts between the District Council Chairperson and other councillors and conflicts between elected (Ward) councillors and special seat councillors. It was further found that the conflicts were contributed by the low level of education among councillors, personal interest and selfishness, poor communication, conflicting roles and unequal distribution of resources. The study found that the conflicts among the councillors affected the implementation of projects in the council, reduced the morale of the special seat councillors and increased unnecessary costs to the council. Different mechanisms have been adopted to resolve conflicts, like collective bargaining and cooperativeness, which are emphasized for the growth of local government authorities, and this reduces the rate of biased decisions. This study recommends training for councillors immediately after being elected to provide awareness of their roles and duties in the local government authority.