Highlights of Remarks of Twaweza Executive Director, Aidan Eyakuze, at #OGPAfrica opening session

“The OGP is not a perfect movement or process, and it is not without its critics. For some it is a smokescreen that provides good PR for governments who have no real intention to reform. Such criticism cannot be dismissed out of hand.”

“I want to highlight what I see as the key element to the OGP’s success: partnership. It is a principle that is so deeply embedded in the OGP, it makes up one-third of its name. That is significant. Because it is as a partnership between government and civil society that the OGP will succeed, or fail.”

“Partnership requires effort on all sides. It requires that governments make space for meaningful dialogue on major issues of open government policy and practice. Sometimes that dialogue can be uncomfortable, especially when those outside government raise challenges. But without government creating space for that dialogue, the Open Government Partnership cannot hope to succeed.”

“On the part of civil society, we must accept the reality that setbacks will happen as we journey towards a changed culture of governance. Open government calls for such a fundamental change to how government operates that it cannot be a completely smooth process.”

“Here in Tanzania, this meeting could not be more timely – both for the goal of open government, and for the principle of partnership. As you may be aware, the government here recently passed two bills that have attracted concerted criticism – the Statistics Act and the Cyber Crime Act. Two further bills – an Access to Information Bill and a Media Services Bill – are before parliament.”

“As written in the versions of the Bills presented to Parliament, certain clauses in the four bills are problematic. They challenge the freedom of conscience and expression enshrined in Article 18 of our Constitution. The clauses are inconsistent with the principles of open government. They threaten to undermine Tanzania’s reputation as a leader in the field of open government.”

“And yet, Your Excellency, this moment also presents the perfect opportunity for the OGP, and for the Tanzanian government, to demonstrate true partnership in practice. Your government can turn this around, invite civil society to bring their ideas, and make amendments to the bills that would protect space for public engagement, debate and freedom of expression.”

“So, is the Open Government Partnership a smokescreen, a charade, a game of “let’s pretend”?”

“I do not believe so and we have the perfect opportunity over the next two days to prove this…together.”

“Let us demonstrate, during this African gathering, that the OGP is a powerful platform for effective engagement between citizens and their governments. Let us demonstrate today, that public commitments to open government are not just exercises in sophisticated public relations. Let us demonstrate bold and courageous ambition.”

“And to make it all work, let us both, government and civil society, demonstrate a deep, serious, candid, and open partnership.”

The full remarks are available here. Highlights of President Kikwete’s speech are available here

Highlights of President Kikwete’s speech at the #OGPAfrica Meeting

JK OGPAfrica

President Kikwete speaking at OGP Africa meeting, 20/5/15

“Openness enables people to claim their rights, and reminds government leaders to deliver on their responsibilities”

“Civil society also needs to be transparent, so society can see and understand their work”

“We need to build understanding (Gov, CSOs) to serve citizens. We are building one house, lets not fight over bricks”

“The purpose of govt is to serve people, its legitimacy comes from that service, without this it loses legitimacy”

“There are NGO leaders driving 4-wheel drives while the intended beneficiaries – citizens – get nothing”

“Freedom to demonstrate needs to follow proper procedures”

“If someone says there is no freedom of speech in this country, they are being over-critical. We are very free.”

“Freedom must have limits, otherwise this country will get into trouble, we leaders will get blamed”

“We will not allow someone to use twitter and whatsapp to promote religious hatred. Freedom has limits”

“I expect the Access to Information bill will be passed in this session of parliament, before I step down”

“I don’t believe we will get a new president who doesn’t see the need for OGP in Tanzania”

“Even the Stats and Cyber Crime Bills. We will sit together, those with ideas, bring them, we’ll sit down to discuss”

“Bad laws can be corrected. Bring your suggestions. We are ready to discuss”

“Govt also wants respect. If you’re aggressive, it will be agressive. If you say ‘no more aid’, we’ll say ‘keep it'”

Highlights of the remarks of Twaweza Executive Director, Aidan Eyakuze, at the same session are available here

One person, one vote? How many voters does each Tanzanian MP represent?

UPDATED 12/5/15 – See below

The job of an MP is to represent their constituents. But how many voters do they have to represent?

If there’s a big difference between the number of voters represented by different MPs, it can be unfair on MPs who have to represent a larger number of people. More importantly, it can be unfair on the voters. Those who live in constituencies with a smaller population would potentially have more influence over their MP – and therefore over the government as a whole. Those in constituencies with more voters would find it harder to make their voice heard. Continue reading

Tanzanian media on social media: who’s winning the battle for likes and followers?

UPDATED 6/5/15 – Now with corrected figures for Radio One, and the inclusion of the political cartoonist, Masoud Kipanya. 

Tanzanian media companies compete fiercely for readers, listeners and viewers. Increasingly, they battle for followers and likes in the social media space as well.

So who is winning?

I looked through a selection of Tanzania’s leading media companies, Swahili versions of some international media houses, and a few high profile individuals in the Tanzanian media sector. In each case, I looked at how many “likes” they had for their facebook page (if they have one), and how many followers for their twitter account (if they have one). Continue reading

Chart #41: How many people in Tanzania have internet access?

In countries like Tanzania, the internet is often seen as something accessible only by a small elite – those who are already relatively wealthy. A few years ago that was probably true. But access to the internet has been growing rapidly in the last few years – largely the result of people accessing the internet through their phones.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority recently published data on internet access in Tanzania, up to the end of 2014. I’ve had a quick look through the numbers. So let’s see how internet access has grown over the past few years. Continue reading

Tanzania’s Statistics, Cybercrime, Media Services and Access to Information Bills: what the cartoonists say

For context, see the following two posts:

First up, two cartoons that focus on the secrecy under which two of these bills were initially brought to parliament:

Nipashe, 19/3/15

Nipashe, 19/3/15

Continue reading

Chart #40: What do Tanzanians think of media freedoms?

As usual, the latest release of Afrobarometer 2014 data and analysis on Tanzania has some very interesting findings. For advocates of media freedoms, it doesn’t make for very comfortable reading. And in a context where newspapers can (and have been) closed down, and where there are new restraints on space for public debate, this matters.

First, two charts that show a decline in support in Tanzania for having an independent and critical media since previous surveys in 2008 and 2012: Continue reading