SoC04 Tanzania we want: Election of Public Servants from Citizens

Tanzania Tuitakayo competition threads


JF-Expert Member
Jul 18, 2018
In Tanzania, the President appoints many public servants. This article argues that a shift towards an elected public service is necessary for robust democracy, increased accountability, and improved service delivery.

While presidential appointments offer some advantages, the benefits of a democratically elected public service far outweigh them.


Photo courtesy of Arusha press Club Blog.

A key advantage of an elected public service is enhanced democratic representation. Citizens have a direct say in choosing officials who will manage their communities and represent their interests. This empowers the public and fosters a sense of ownership over government processes. In contrast, presidential appointments can create a democratic deficit.

Appointed officials may be less accountable to the public, focusing on pleasing the appointing authority rather than serving the needs of the citizens. This can lead to policies that are out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Tanzanians.


Photo courtesy of The Citizen Tanzania.

Elected public servants are directly accountable to the electorate, knowing they face re-election motivates them to be responsive to citizen concerns, efficient in their roles, and transparent in their actions. This accountability translates to improved service delivery and a public service that works for the people.

In the strictest meaning, accountability is synonymous with answerability; it refers to the need to provide an account of one's actions to certain persons, groups, or organizations. However, as public administrators increasingly engage in international networks and worldwide coalitions, determining what constitutes responsibility in public administration has become a difficult challenge.

Conversely, appointed officials may feel less pressure to perform and become reliant on the decision of the people whom have placed them in the office. Their job security can lead to complacency and a lack of responsiveness to public needs.

Without the threat of being voted out, the incentive to be accountable diminishes, potentially leading to stagnation and inefficient service delivery. Elections allow for a more diverse range of voices and perspectives to be represented in the public service. Citizens can choose candidates with varying backgrounds, experiences, and skill sets, ensuring that the public service reflects the demographics and needs of the entire population. When selecting between candidates, voters may form judgments on potential representatives based on whether the candidates is capable to hold the given position.


Photo courtesy of The Citizen Tanzania.

Appointed officials, on the other hand, may come from a narrower pool of individuals who share the political ideology of the appointing authority; as long as the appointed is willingly to follow the ways of the person whom has appointed them.

When someone is elected they have campaigned and earned the approval of a majority of the voters. An appointment, on the other hand, requires no such a thing. This lack of diversity can lead to policies that do not adequately address the needs of all citizens, particularly those from marginalized communities. Elections promote active civic engagement.

Campaigns compel citizens to learn about the candidates and their platforms, fostering political awareness and encouraging informed participation in the democratic process. This active people are crucial for a healthy democracy. Appointing officials, however, can lead to a more passive citizenry.

Without direct participation in choosing public servants, citizens may become disengaged from the political process. This can ultimately weaken Tanzania's democracy and hinder national development.


Photo courtesy of BBC.

Some may argue that presidential appointments allow for the selection of highly qualified individuals based on merit, but in deep the appointments don’t favor the citizens as they are based on political relationship. However, elections can also lead to the selection of competent candidates, as voters increasingly prioritize qualifications and experience alongside political affiliation.

Additionally, concerns about the cost of elections can be mitigated through streamlined voting procedures and campaign finance regulations. The long-term benefits of a more responsive and accountable public service outweigh the initial financial investment.


Photo courtesy of COSOTA.

The current system of presidential appointments for public servants in Tanzania limits the nation's democratic potential and public accountability.

By transitioning towards an elected public service, Tanzania can enhance accountability, promote better service delivery, and empower its citizens to actively participate in shaping the future of their nation. This democratic reform will ensure that public servants are truly servants of the people.
"Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people"
Most of the essay elaborates the fact that: Politically elected officials may be more accountable to their voters as opposed to politically appointed officials. Bit I see the root of the problem is the lack of accountability itself.

Because even the appointed official were to be accountable to their appointer (President) who in turn is accountable to the same voters. So we end up with a chain of accountability running full cycle to the citizen whether we have elected or appointed official. So whenever there is accountability or lack thereof, it does not matter the process that got the leader into position. Only just accountability.
"Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people"
And the people is us. The Tanzania we want.
Well presidential appointments serve as loop hole for political agendas, elected individuals no longer server the peoples , they serve the president and (political party they came from).
We need changes
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