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Ministers, PSs reshuffles have impact on effective governement

Ministers, PSs reshuffles have impact on effective governement

TO come into terms with Saturday’s reshuffling of ministers, permanent secretaries and their deputies one thing keeps on echoing in my mind that there is or there will always be a good reason for a re- shuffle.

Much as in such reshuffles, some get promoted while oth- ers re-allocated and importantly, others being left out for other duties, be it personal or not, there is always a good intelligence for a reordering.

Meaning, no reshuffle takes place simply because it is as- sumed that there should be one.

Without going into the details, pursuit President Samia Suluhu Hassan remarks made a few weeks ago, although we couldn’t govern the date, month or the hour, pursuit Saturday’s announcement, it is nice to commend the President for the comparative restraint she has shown in reshuffling her ministers and re-allocated or new appointee.

Unquestionably, reshuffles have an impact on the effectiveness of the government because although not always been put in the public domain, even the ablest Minister needs time to become familiar with a new brief.

When somebody is moved to a new post, there will be an inescapable delay before they are fully effective.

But how one copes with new brief depends on individuals’ smartness and ability to learn quickly from the existing, instead of what I can describe as trying to invent his/her own Mt Kilimanjaro.

This is intensely the case when the new Minister(s) or permanent secretaries or deputy etc., has no previous experience of the subject area.

Much as there will be occa- sions when a fresh perspective is useful and needed, it is my view that most major government policies will benefit from having continuity within the responsible ministries or de- partments.

In my view, this furthermore permits parliament more meritoriously to execute its function of holding the government to account.

The implication is simple, it is difficult to hold Ministers to account for policies they oversaw if they have moved to new posts, and it also takes time before a new Minister can answer to detailed scrutiny and analysis of reports submitted to various sessions from MPs.

The authority to pick and discharge Ministers, and to move existing Ministers to new posts, is now per the Tanzania constitution a prerogative power exercised by the President.

There are no ceilings on how often ministerial reshuffles can take place and if I am correct, nor is there time-honoured guidance on how and when they are best undertaken.

What I could say is that to those appointees who were sworn on Monday and in future, the secret to continuing being a national asset as a minister of PS etc. is to deliver to the expectation of the appointing authority.

It is critical for the ap- pointee to recall President Samia’s determination when she uttered, I quote … I haven’t placed the pen down, but just put a comma” in my view meaning to keep the reshuffles as appropriate as it might take.

To my assessment, she made her views on the subject clear signalling she is after deliver- able to save Tanzanians in their capability.

Rearranges a.k.a reshuffle take place for an array of reasons, some of which are inevitable.

Some reshuffles are inspired by a fortune or an emergency or a sudden resignation or prompted by death, sickness and resignations will continually be part of politi- cal life.

Amidst a few reasons I have stressed, to the best of my knowledge, unless proven otherwise, the main reason for reshuffles is to allow the president to try to ensure she has the best possible team of ministers and other appointees to support the administration to push forward national agenda.

Although reshuffle could for sometimes become an agenda for discussion along in schools especially amongst students at colleges or universities or public offices corridors or within private sector opera- tors, each with own views, one principal thing is the reasons for reshuffles, in my view can differ according to the lifecycle of a Government that in the early years of a Government, reshuffles could take place for a President to have the most effective team and the team she desires.

As far as the impact of reallocation is a concern, it is important to remember that does not mean reshuffles do not affect policy making and delivery.

I stand to be rectified but I believe frequent moves cannot be good for continuity of policy and making sure that, primarily, the policy is thought through and there is consistent delivery.

I think one of the interesting developments with most governments including the Tanzanian government is having a programme for government.

When there are departmental plans to deliver the programme for the government does give voters and importantly investors who eye what government does a very clear structure for the tasks of the department and the government’s priorities, which forms part of the context, on one hand of their role for any new Minister coming in, but on the other hand, others understand where the government is heading.

Pursuit to current chapter close of reshuffle and new ministers are now in their docket, how for example to be an effective minister? And rather how to do it well?

Much as some appointed have served in other ministries were at least gave them a bit of experience and insight, it is very important to bear in mind that the job of a government minister and perhaps their deputy is a strange one.

There is no job description, no ap- plication, no interview and no tuition.

Instead, you are picked from among your peers, by the President, to be a chief decision maker and a joint leader of a large and complex organisation i.e., Ministry that you may know absolutely nothing about.

In our setting, I am of the view that a new role starts the minute these appointees leave sworn ground ceremonial, perhaps with some instruction and directives from the President about what she would like to be done, perhaps not.

Brothers and my sisters, my plea to all who have been appointed, it is a great privilege and most likely the highlight of your po- litical career.

President Samia’s if I may guess and get into her mind is going to your post and serving Tanzanians.

Go and work as a team and deliver within resources provided to you.

Go to your new post as a Minister or new office as a permanent secretary or deputy etc., to lead departmental staff you don’t know, none of whom you can formally hire or fire, will greet you and wait to hear your plan.

To succeed and make the impact you must be part of a team that you haven’t been able to choose and that may include political rivals.

Your new job is around the clock as you juggle a constant stream of government business along with your role as a parliamentarian not to forget family associates all under the gaze of the media and the public scrutiny.

Be aware that your job is an inconceivable opportunity but it’s also temporary, however thriving you could perform.

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Author: DR HILDEBRAND SHAYO

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