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IMPROVING OVERSIGHT IN ZANZIBAR


Local girls dressed in traditional clothing..


House have, over the years, provided scope for Standing Committees to conduct oversight functions over government institutions. Specifically, through standing orders 109 – 118 (2012 edition), the Standing Committees scrutinize the working of ministries and other government agencies and submit their recommendations.


Subsequently, the Standing Committees meet for oversight- related work for a minimum of two weeks, four times a year. The Standing Committees are required to submit reports to the House


following their oversight of different government ministries, departments and agencies once a year. The March session is dedicated to Committees’ reports which are laid and debated by the Members before adoption.


Amendment of Standing Orders


Members expressed that increasingly over the years some of the Committees’ recommendations were not being effectively implemented. They argued there had been delays or sometimes even failure to implement some of the committees’


196 | The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three


recommendations, a situation that compromised the House’s oversight mandate.3


The government on the other hand, argued that it always implemented Committees’ recommendations. From the arguments offered by both government and backbenchers, it was evident there was a gap of communication between the two parties.


An emphasis by members of standing committees towards ensuring that their directives and recommendations were effectively


and accordingly implemented, paved the way for an amendment of the Standing Orders. Consequently these were amended in 2012. It required every minister to present a report of implementation of directives and recommendations of the respective committees issued in the previous report each year. Following the amendment, during the March session when Standing Committees presented their reports before the House, ministers also presented their action-taken reports. It was a major milestone in the growing influence of the House on government business.


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