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existed, complemented the recent amendments. The improvement in accountability could be identified by the following aspects:

• Ministers were now required to systematically report on how they had implemented directives issued in the previous year by the respective committees;5 • There was now clarity of the role of ministers in reporting on the implementation of directives and recommendations of the commit- tees; and • Standing committees’ reports were clearer and more focused, and identified directives and recommen- dations which committees expressed their desire to see government imple- ment accordingly.

As such, it was anticipated that the committees would identify directives and recommendations towards respective ministries in their reports. The amendment also broadened scope of the intervention of Members in discussing how ministries were implementing such directives and recommendations. It was clear that committees were now working on behalf of the House in conducting oversight of the Executive. Committees oversaw their respective ministries, and also monitored how they responded to the directives and recommendations issued by the committee and adopted by the House.

Initially this involved the

Anticipation of the amendments

One of the benefits anticipated from the amendment of the Standing Orders was the enhanced role of the House overseeing conduct of the Executive. Consequently, accountability was substantially improved.

The Standing Orders also placed responsibility for every Standing Committee to follow up on the directives and recommendations issued by that particular committee from the previous year. This provision, which had always

particular committee understanding in-depth, how such directives had been implemented. Under the amendments, the ministers now had to report to the entire membership of the House; who could access and debate the ministers’ reports accordingly.

A final observation to note was that since House proceedings were open to the public and the media, citizens had the benefit of following the discussions. In addition to increasing transparency of government business, this process could trigger improved representative constituent engagement as people

became aware of the commitments made by the government as well as the implementation timeframes. It also ensured that people would be better prepared to engage their elected representatives on the performance of government ministries, departments and agencies on the ground. In similar fashion, the media were also able to access the Committee and ministerial reports through Hansard or on the House website: http://www.

“Members of the House are quite optimistic that oversight of the government will be substantially improved as this mechanism takes root.”

Prospects of the amendments The amendment of Standing Orders requiring ministers to report to the House on the implementation of directives and recommendations of Standing Committees have just started to be effectively implemented.6 While it is too early to conclude on effectiveness of this new model of oversight, the debates which transpired during the presentation of such reports in March 2013 sessions justify the optimistic view that much will be achieved from the new provisions. During the March/ April 2013 session, one minister while reporting the implementation of committee directives and recommendations assured the House that his ministry would accomplish the implementation before the budget session.7 Members of the House are quite optimistic that oversight of the government will be substantially improved as this mechanism takes

root. The gravity of this exercise was indicated by the way in which members expressed their concerns on different issues during the submission of the reports; a move which might prompt ministers to be more prepared in the future. Members expressed the view that the time allotted for the exercise was not sufficient and proposed that more time be allocated next year. The Secretariat of the House is considering this matter before submitting to the Steering Committee of the House for its determination. In 2013, each Standing Committee was given one day to present its report on the current financial year and all ministries falling under its portfolio also presented their respective reports on directives and recommendations of that committee issued in the previous year.


There is hope that this new mechanism will work efficiently towards improving the oversight function of the House of the government. As this tradition has been formalized and become more systematic through incorporation in the Standing Orders, it has enhanced the tradition of giving feedback to the House through its standing committees recommended to the government.


1. The Constitution of Zanzibar, 1984. 2. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977.

3. Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, 2012.

4. Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, 2011.

5. Hansards of the House of Representatives of 12 April, 2013.

6. The House of Representatives Standing Committees Reports, 2009/2010.

7. The House of Representatives Standing Committees Reports, 2010/2011.

8. The House of Representatives Standing Committees Reports, 2011/2012.

9. Population Distribution by Administrative Units; 2012 Population and Housing Census, Volume I, 2013.

The Parliamentarian | 2013: Issue Three | 197

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