Activists applaud Samia on OGP

HUMAN rights activists have welcomed the government intension to rejoin the Open Government Partnership (OGP), saying the move will further strengthen democracy, human rights and good governance.

The right activists through Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) said they all support the move and they are ready to form a strong partnership with the government in advocating for the importance and role of OGP in promoting human rights in the country.

Speaking during the second Summit for Democracy which was held virtually on Wednesday this week and attended by various leaders including US President Joe Biden, President   Samia Suluhu Hassan said Tanzania intends to return to Open Government Partnership (OGP) as earliest opportunity.

“Tanzania will continue to support democracy, human rights and good governance at home and abroad and we are looking to the issue of returning to Open Government Partnership (OGP) as earliest opportunity,” President Samia said.

The President said since March 2021 the government has embarked on an ambitious but necessary mission to continue strengthening democracy in the country.

“In December 2021, we began intensive consultation with   stakeholders on the future of multiparty democracy in Tanzania,” she said.

Dr Samia said the taskforce was established to look into the matter and came up with recommendations on how best to achieve that objective.

“Among the recommendations are reforming the legislations on national elections and political parties as well as reviewing the constitution with the aim of creating a conducive environment of free and fair election.

“Our government is already working on and implementing some of those recommendations such as amendment of electoral laws, lifting ban on political rallies etc,”

THRDC National Coordinator Advocate Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa said that Dr Samia’s decision is welcomed by all Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).

“We also recognise the efforts made by other government leaders including ministers for influencing the importance of Tanzania to reinstate its OGP membership. THRDC also reminds its members to fearlessly continue to defend human rights in accordance with laws and values and Tanzanian culture,” Advocate Ole Ngurumwa said.

He added that it is an undeniable fact that rejoining OGP carries the meaning and reality of President Samia’s 4Rs which are Reconciliation, Resilience, Reform and Rebuilding.

He added that OPG membership will help in respecting rule of law, human rights and good governance which are pillars for development.

“Therefore OGP membership grants all human rights defenders freedom to carry out their primary responsibility which is safeguarding human rights, and advising the government in various matters,” he said.

Adv Ole Ngurumwa said that OGP would on the other hand promote creativity through using ICTs and monitor accountability among government officials.

He said that the government recognises that investment in technology and innovation is key to success in the spirit of democracy and economic development. OGP supports technology and innovation, thus rejoining OGP will provide an important platform for improving transparency and inclusion of citizens, accountability and integrity which are the main pillars of a prosperous society,” Adv Ngurumwa said.

Tanzania joined OGP in 2011 and pulled out in 2017.So far it has 76 member states, 14 of which are from the African continent.

Tanzania was one of the first African countries to join the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in September 2011. The OGP is a multilateral initiative bringing together governments and civil society organisations to promote transparency, citizen participation and accountability.

As a member, the government made ambitious commitments to be more open to its citizens so as to improve public service delivery and to intensify efforts to fight corruption.

Tanzania pulled out of OGP in July 2017 but the good news is that the doors have been open for it to rejoin.

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