GENERAL STUDIES (GS)-DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND PRACTICES
GENERAL STUDIES (GS)-DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND PRACTICES
The meaning of the concept
The term “democracy” even in a purely descriptive sense, means different things to different people. Much has been debated on what is democracy and democratic value. Since Aristotle formulated the phenomenon called “democracy”, many philosophers have meditated and written about it with the result that much misunderstanding of its meaning had developed over the year. This confusion forced George Bernard Shaw, as far back as 1948, to propose that “in order to eradicate misunderstanding and confusion about the meaning of democracy, the leading scholar and thinkers of the world be convened and the issue be settled once and for all”. Up to this material time, however, such a postulation has not yet been realized.
Democracy is generally taken to mean “a system of government and leadership in which the authority or power belongs to the people”.
Historical development of democracy
Democracy originated from an ancient Greece whereby people exercised power directly to the government. They were making decision and opinions while directly participating in the government.
The word “democracy” therefore is derived from two Greek words which are “Demos” which means “People” and “Kratos” which means “Power.
Democracy thus can be defined as the power of the people or power in the hands of people.
One weakness of the ancient Greek democracy was that slaves and women were not allowed to participate in discussion only free born citizens took advantage of the system.
The city state population was small such that the citizen could know one another and assembles to make binding decision on the conduct of their lives.
The act of assembling to make decision through popular vote was an act of democracy. This kind of democracy is possible only within small social entities such as small towns, villages, families, etc. at the nation level it is a dream because it is impossible to assemble the entire nation to make unanimous public decisions.
Abraham Lincoln defined democracy as government of the people, for the people and by the people.
“government of people” means that the people are sovereign and that the government derives all its power and authority from the hands of the people.
“government by the people” Means that the system of government, leadership and supreme power belongs to the people.
From these concepts one can say that in a democratic state people give their consent to their representative who rule people on their behalf.
Types of Democracy
There are two major types of democracy.
- Pure/ Direct democracy
It is a type of democracy which involves direct participation of all adult citizen in making public decision. This is only possible when the population is small. The city state of Athens was the first historical social democratic entity to practice direct democracy. It only had population of 5000 – 6000 citizens. The term ‘democracy’ was originally formulated by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384-322 BC) within the context of local government, while he was researching the political process in 158 Greek city in public meeting on matters concerning the government and administration of their cities to discuss matter of general interest, to present proposal on such matter and to participate in the decision making. Hence, this is what later came to be understood as direct or participatory democracy.
Characteristics of Direct democracy
- It allows the highest level of participation
- It works best in the community where citizen, have a common view of their interest and goals. For example, clan, tribes, village association.
- It is possible in the society with freedom to make its own decision
- It is possible in society with homogeneity among the members E.G. common ancestry, etc.
- It can work with the knowledgeable/ well informed people who can make the right correct choices and decisions.
Advantage of Direct Democracy
- Every person has a chance to express his/her feeding and views about particular programmes
- It provides quick and immediate answer to people. Also satisfaction is immediate to questions asked directly. This is because they are answered directly.
- Direct democracy enable people to think and provide their opinions immediately to the government
- Direct democracy helps representatives such as members of parliament to gather information from their constituencies so that they can send them before the national assembly.
- It has been advantageous on making and discussiong by-laws in villages or hamlets and wards.
Disadvantages of direct democracy
- It cannot be applied in areas where the population is very high. This is because people cannot assemble together in a small area and discuss comfortably.
- It is not easy to reach the consensus on the matter discussed. This is because every person will be trying to argue according to his/her interests.
- There is the possibility of the outbreak of conflict and misunderstanding. This is because every person will demand his/her opinions to be considered.
- It is wastage of time to most people because the meeting will make people leave their production activities untended.
- Not all people attend and participate fully in the meeting. May people may attend but only few will participate fully on the matters discussed.
- There are some people who are not able to express themselves before the masses, due to this situation there is a possibility of missing valuable ideas.
- Indirect/ representative democracy (Liberal/ Bourgeoisie democracy)
It is a type of democracy whereby citizens elect representative who will work on their behalf. For example, members of parliament, local councilors, president, etc/.
This type of democracy originated from Europe where capitalists fought and won freedom land owners. That is why it is called liberal/bourgeois democracy because it originated from the capitalists.
Characteristics of Indirect democracy
- Presence of constitution: Indirect democracy has a constitution as a body of principle laws through which the state is governed.
- Separation of power: The authority and power of the state is divided into three branches of government, namely the executive, judiciary and legislature.
- Bill of right for citizens against the abuse of power by government officials and leaders
- The rule of law: The country is governed by the laws and that nobody is above the law. The law must ensure public peace and order through settling disputed peaceably.
- Multipartism: Many political parties play an important a role in the government.
Basically, all adults have the right to vote or be voted for in elections
Limitations/ Weakness of indirect democracy
- Voter apathy: This is not especially among the disadvantaged people who don’t participate nor have the influence in the elections.
- Passive citizens: There are people in different sciatic who are not well informed on civics issues and responsibilities.
- Dependency: This means to follow a group or leader uncritically and reducing the value of outsiders and avoiding disagreement. This behavior present democracy because it does not acknowledge equality.
- Lack of economic democracy; Since only the minority have the great percentage of wealth, no political equality.
- Democracy is not yet extended to many other civic institution. For example, the church.
Categories of representative democracy
There are three categories of democracy under which representative democracy is practiced. Namely:
- Presidential democracy: It is a system of government in which supreme power (presidency) is held a representative through a popular vote as the head of state and leads all other ministers. Other republics have separate leadership status for the post the president as the head of state and the prime minister as the head of government such as India.
- Parliamentary democracy: In this system, the voters select the member’s of parliament/ congress which then selects the head of the executive government who is often the leader of the majority in the parliament and thus forms the government. If he/she loses support and so give a vote of no confidence from the majority in the parliament, he/she must resign from office and a new prime minister in elected by the parliament to form a new government. For example, in France.
- Constitutional monarchy: Is the government system elected by the people through a general election and is headed by the prime minister. The king/queen is the head of state who come to power through inheritance but who is simply a symbol of unity and has no read power. It is generally held that the king reigns but does not govern. Examples are in UK, Sweden, Japan, Denmark.
- Mixed representative democracy: It is mixture of parliamentary and presidential democracies where the people elect the president but the members of parliament elect the prime minster. Example. France.
Principles/ Features/Signposts of democracy
In nay democracy regime there are ideas that most people believe are necessary for democracy to succeed. The following are some of those principles:
- Existence of various mass media: There should be various mass media which are not monopolistically owned by the government or any other group which give accurate information
- Equality: This refers to equal rights and opportunities to the people. No racial, religious, ethnic or sex discrimination
- Citizen participation: Every citizen participates fully in making decision in the country. For example, standing for elections, voting, being informed, protest, debating issue, etc. this system of participation checks the government from abuse of power.
- Political tolerance: There should be political tolerance between the minority composition parties and the majority ideas.
- Free and fair elections: There shouldn’t be any threats to the citizens, no corruption to the
citizen and the elections should be regular.
- Accountability: Government officials and leaders must be accountable to the people. That is they should word for the interest of the people.
- Transparency in the government: People must be aware of what is happening in the country meetings, mass media press, etc also criticisms must be taken into account.
- Multipartism : More than one part must participate in election and play its role in the government to provide it with different viewpoints and issues.
- Human rights: These are values that reflect the respect for human life and dignity. Citizen have freedom of opinion, worship, speech, writing, meeting and associating with fellow citizens provided that they uphold the constitution and abide by the laws of the land.
- Inclusion of bill of right in the constitution: A bill of right is a list of right and freedom guaranteed to all the people in the country.
Many democratic countries choose to have it and finally include it in the constitution basically to protect people against the abuse of power so the bill of right limits power of the government and imposes duties on individuals and organizations.
- Control of abuse of power: In democratic government officials are prevented from abusing their powers, the most of which is corruption.
Various method are used whose common aim is to limit the power of the branches of the judiciary and the executive (agencies with power to act against any illegal action by any government official/ branch.)
- The rule of law: This means that in a democratic government, no one is above the law and every one should obey the law- i.e. the governors and the governed.
- Economic freedom: the government allows private individuals or in association and agencies to own property. Thus people are free to choose and join different trade unions.
- Sovereignty: It is the freedom of the government to decide and execute domestic foreign policies without interference from another country. Thus, a neo-colony cannot practice democracy, only a sovereign country can practice democracy.
- Separation of powers: The authority and powers of the state should be divided into three branches of government that is the executive the legislature (parliament) and the judiciary (court) so that it becomes impossible for any one of these branches to monopolies state authority and power to the detriment of the democratic norms and processes.
Importance/ Advantages of democracy
- Accountability and good governance: Democracy gives an obligation to government officials to refrain from misuse of power and so they become accountable to the people for their actions. This ensures good governance.
- Equality and rights: In a democratic society all people are considered to be equally free although they may differ in intelligence, property, health etc. they have equal opportunities of participating in the decision of government and elections. This guarantees peace and harmony.
- Promotion of good interests: Democracy gives room for the people to develop a cooperative habit of working together as well as tolerance of their differing views.
- Self-government: People are more likely to accept laws, taxes and their obligation if they feel they have played some part in making decisions.
- Democracy ensures the choosing of useful and good leaders. This is important because the leaders represent the voters.
- Decision of the majority are likely to be right for their common good because they have been collectively discussed rather than those which have been made for them by a single person or by the minority.
Short coming/ weakness of democracy
- It is normally cumbersome and costly: In democracy it may be too slow and costly to make a decision. For instance, a referendum may have to be called to approve an international agreement and may also be called to approve constitution changes.
- Unfairness: The fact that a decision has been approved by the majority does not mean that it is always right. A mob can easily mislead itself even on issues of national interest
- Need of literacy: Democracy does not work in illiterate societies because illiterate people don’t know the limits of those in power. They make very wrong choices and decisions under the quite of democracy.
- Delegation of power: Democracy allows delegation of power by the people. This argument is based on the fact that after the election, the voters lose control over their representatives.
- Getting untrained representatives; Democracy may result in getting inefficient representatives who may neither be skilled nor trained.
Therefore, they will be incapable of dealing with technical issues and their contribution will be poor.
The role of government in the democratic process
- Providing civic education to citizens. Citizens who are qualified should be encouraged to participate in election process and in policy making.
- Inclusion of bill of right in the constitution. This ensures the right of personal liberty and equality before the law, freedom of movement, conscience and expression, protection of citizens against degrading treatment
- Enhancing freedom of press. This aims at providing freedom of opinion. People should be able to express their view and find out what is happening in their communities and in other nation by using both state owned and privately owned mass media.
- Ensuring a conductive environment to the civil society organizations and promote people’s participation through them.
Local Government in Tanzania Meaning
Local governments are political and administrative agents through which development of towns, district, municipals and cities can be obtained.
Short history of the development of Local Authorities in Tanzania
The local government system in Tanzania has had a long and chequered history. The early forms of local self-government were based on chiefdoms and sub-chiefdoms, and following colonization, the British local government model of indirect rule was adopted. In the post- colonial era the local government system, starved of resources, was unable to deliver adequate services to the people. In 1972 local governments were abolished in favour of a more centralized system of government (Through the Decentralization by deconce ntration process). Central government and ministries were put in charge of the administration of basic government services at the local level, including primary education and health care. However, the delivery of public services actually deteriorated under this system of feconcetration and local government were re- introduced by the Local government Acts of 1982.
While local Government Authorities were technically reintroduced in mainland Tanzania in 1984, the system was a top-down modality and local governments were tightly constrained by central government. In addition local government had lost many of its senior management and technical staff.
Central government ministries, through their regional administrative offices, were delegated strong power to continue to direct almost all aspects of the affairs of local government.
Structure of Local Government System in Tanzania
The structure of local government system can be analysed by showing the following interlinked system. Key structure are briefly shown. A detailed analysis of the structure showing how local government structure is linked to the Central Government is also presented.
- Prime Minister’s office
Responsibilities of Prime Minister’s officer include the following.
- To guide and oversee the delivery of primary education by local Government Authorities (LGAs)
- To provide strategic leadership and technical support to council education offices.
- To support and build the capacity of Regional Secretariat (RS) and Local Government Authorities.
- To ensure that councils prepare consolidated education development plans that conform to government development goals, education policy and assurance standards.
- To consolidate council plans and budgets into national Plans of action which will provide the basis for the approval and transfer of funds
- To collaborate with the Ministry of education and Vocational Training in order to monitor, review and evaluate outputs and outcomes of education plans.
- To communicate education information to all system levels and interested stakeholders.
- To produce regular financial and physical report to the Ministry of Finance
- To collaborate with other agencies in the education sector in planning and specifying national service delivery standards for primary education.
- To technically support Local government Authorities in planning and implementing primary education programmes in accordance with the national services delivery standards.
- Regional Secretariats
The responsibilities of the Regional secretaraiat include the following:-
- To carry out periodic internal audits in the Local Government Authorities (LGAs) and school to ensure that performance targets are being met.
- To guide, co-ordinate and monitor the delivery of social services
- To provide technical support to council offices
- Urban authorities
Town council, municipal council and city council fall under urban authorities. As at present there are twenty five urban council (i.e. five City Councils, seventeen Municipal councils and Four Town councils)
- City Council
Currently there are five cities, namely – Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Tanga and Mbeya. Member of the city council are the following:-
Structure of the city Council
- Elect members (Councilors), one from each ward in the city.
- Member of parliament representing parliamentary constituencies in the city
- National member of parliament (Women) residing in a particular city
- Not more than six other members appointed by the Minister responsible for local governments from among the city residents.
- Municipal Council
Municipalities are towns which have a population of over 80,000 residents each.
Member of the municipal council are the same as those of town council. The council is headed by a mayor who is assisted by a deputy mayor. Both the mayor and the deputy mayor are elected
by member from amongst the elected councilors. Ike a town council, the municipal council has a director who is the chief executive and serves as a Secretary to the council.
- Town council
The Town council is composed of councilors elected from each ward within the town, Member of Parliament representing the constituencies within the town and five member appointed by the Minister responsible for Local Government and the women appointed to the council whose number is not less than one third of Ward representatives and Members of parliament combined.
1. District council
A district council is an administrative area corresponding to that of government administration. The district council is composed of the following:-
- Elected members or councilors, one from each ward in the district
- Three members appointed by the minister responsible for local government
- The member of parliament or (members of the parliament from the constituencies) within the areas of the district.
- Chairperson of village council elected by the districvt council. Their number is directed not to exceed one-third of the total number of elected councilors.
A district council is headed by a chairperson who is assisted by a Vice-chairperson. These two are elected by councilors among themselves. The chief executive of the council is the District Executive Director (DED). This is a government employee, not a political official
Responsibilities of Councilors
Some of the functions of councilors include the following:-
- To review periodically progress and performance of development programmes.
- To direct and control the affairs of their local government authorities ]
- To make decision in the objectives of their authorities and on the plan to attain them. For instance, approval of by-laws and annual budget.
Function of Local Government Directors
The director is both the chief executive of the Council and the accounting officer. Therefore:-
- The director performs the day to day administration of the services carried by the local government authority.
- The director provides the necessary advice to enable councilor set objectives and decide on the means of attaining them.
- The directors identify and choose particular problems, and make necessary decision taking into account the view of councilors.
1. The Ward
The Minister responsible for Local Government has been mandated to sub-divide the area of every District, Town, Municipality or City Council into Wards, Neighborhoods (Mitaa)-in urban areas or Villages (in rural areas) hamlets or vitongoji.
The number and size of the Ward varies Council to council depending on population densities, size of the council are and geographical characteristics of the District, town, Municipality or city in question. The Ward is an administrative and services delivery and for coordinating activities of villages and Neighborhoods within the Ward. There is no elected Council at the Ward level. Instead each Ward has a Ward development Committee, which comprises of:
- A Councilor representing the Ward in the District or urban Council who is the Chairperson of the Committee
- Chairperson of all Villages within the Ward.
- Chair persons of Neighborhoods in the case of Urban Wards.
- Women Councilors who occupy special seats reserved for women in the relevant District or Urban Authority resident in the Ward.
- Invited members who must include persons from Non-Government Organizations and other Civic Group involved in the promotion and development of the Ward (but without voting right )
The function of the Ward Development Committee include:-
- Promotion, establishment and development of cooperative enterprises and activities within the Ward.
- Initiation and formulation of any task, venture or enterprises designed to ensure the welfare and well-being of Ward rsidents.
- Supervision and coordination of the implementation of Council project and programmes
- Planning and coordination of activities of, and rendering assistance and advice to the residents of the Ward engaged in any activity or industry of any kind.
- Formulation and submission to the Village councils or to the District/urban councils of proposals for the making of by-laws in relation to the affairs of the Ward.
- Monitoring revenue collection.
- Initiating and promoting participatory development in the Ward
- Supervision of all funds established and entrusted in the Ward
- Managing disaster and environment related activities
- Promotion of gender issues.
Where any scheme or programe for the development of the Ward has been approved by the council Chief Executive or by the Village councils concerned, the Ward development committee is required to inform all person within the Ward area about the scheme or programme and the date, time or place upon which the Ward residents will report in order to participate in its implementation.
The funds and resources of the Ward development committee consist of such sum as may be determined and appropriated by the district or urban council.
1. The Neighbourhood (Mtaa)
In the urban areas the lowest unit of government is the “Mtaa” or Neighbourhood Section 14(3) of the Local government (Urban authorities) Act no. 8 of 1982 stipulates that the area of an urban Ward shall be divided into Neighbourhood (“Mitaa”) consisting of a number of households, which the urban authority may determine. Every Neighbourhood (Mtaa) has a chairperson who is elected by a Neighbourhood (Mtaa) electoral meeting of all adult member of Neighbourhood (Mtaa) and who may be moved from office by the decision of a simple majority of such members subject to procedures prescribed by the Minister responsible for Local government.
The “Mtaa” Chairperson is required to convene a meeting of Mtaa Assembly at least once in every two months and therefore to submit the minute of the meeting to the waard development committee
Every “Mtaa” has a Mtaa committee of not more than six members (of whom at least two should be women) elected from amongst residents of the “Mtaa” in accordance with procedures as may be prescribed by the Minister responsible for Local Government.
The functions of the mtaa committee are:
- To implement Council Policies
- To advise the Council on matter relating to development plans and activities of the Mtaa.
- To advise the Ward development committee on matter relating to peace and security in the Mtaa.
- To keep proper record of residents of the Mtaa and a record of other particulars relating to the development of the Mtaa is general.
- To do such other things as may be conferred upon it by the Ward Development committee.
The “Mtaa” chairperson is part from chairing “Mtaa” Assembly and “Mtaa” committee meeting required:
- To supervise peace and security activities in the “Mtaa”
- To arbitrate on minor conflicts amongst “Mtaa” resident which do not warrant to be referred to
the Ward Tribunal nor the courts
- To sensitise “Mtaa” residents to pay Council taxes
- To ensure genral cleanliness in the “Mtaa”
- To cooperate with the Urban council in abatement of nuisances
- To follow up and ensure that every school going age child gets a place and attends classes as required.
- To sensitise “Mtaa” residents to participate in developmental activities through self-help
- To perform such other function as may be determined by the Urban council.
1. The Village
The Registrar of Villages in the Ministry responsible for Local government may register an area as a Village where he/she is satisfied that not less than 250 homesteads have settled and made their homes within any area of mainland Tanzania, and that boundaries of that area can be particularly defined. The Minister responsible for Local government may authorize two or more areas to be registered as a single Village and, also autholize the registration of an area as a Village notwithstanding that there are less than the prescribed numbers of households within the area.
Two major organs have been created at village level. The Village Assembly is composed of all adult persons ordinarily resident in the village. The village council comprises of not less than fifteen but not more than twenty –five members (of whom women make at least 25%) elected every 5 years by the village Assembly. The election of the village Council is conducted in
accordance with procedures prescribed by the Minister responsible for Local Government matter. No person can be elected as a member of the village council, unless;
- He/she has attained the apparent age of 21 years
- He/she is a member of a household within the village and is ordinarily resident in the village
- He/she is able to read and write in Kiswahili or English.
- He/she has a lawful means of livelihood.
The Village Council may, by resolution supported by two thirds of the members, remove the chairperson from office.
A Village Assembly is the supreme authority on all matters of general policy making in relation to the affairs of the village, and as such it is responsible for the election of the Village Council and its removal from Office. The Village Assembly meets once in every three months and may hold an extraordinary meeting whenever there is an urgent issue to be resolved. The function of the village assembly are as follows:
- To receive and deliberate on implementation reports submitted by the village Council.
- To receive and deliberate on revenue and expenditure reports since the last meeting.
- To receive and deliberate on by-laws proposed by the Village council.
- To deliberate on reports on applications for land as submitted and decided upon by the Village council.
- To receive and take note of directives from higher governance levels.
The Village Council is the organ which is vested with all executive (government) power in respect of all affairs and business of the village Specifically the Village council is required:
- To oversee security and peace activities in the Village
- To do all such things as are necessary or expedient for the economic and social development of the village
- To initiate and undertake any tasks, venture or enterprise designed ensure the welfare and well- being of the residents of the Village.
- To receive and deliberate issues raised at meeting of Vitongoji (sub-village) Assemblies
- To plan and coordinate the activities of and render assistance and advice to the residents of the village engaged in agricultural, horticultural, forestry or other activity or industry of any kind.
- To encourage resident of the village in undertaking and participating in communal enterprises.
- To participate by way of partnership or any other way, in economic enterprises with other Village councils
The Village Council is required to meet once every month but may hold an emergency meeting anytime if a need so arises.
1. The Hamlet (Kitongoji)
The lowest Local Government organ in rural and peri-urban areas is the Hamlet or “Kitongoji”, which forms part of a registered Village. The law requires that the area of a Village shall be divided into not more than five “Vitongoji” consisting of such number of households or of such geographical areas as may be determined by the Village council and approved by the District Council. Every “Kitongoji” has a chairperson who is elected by the electron college consisting of all the adult members of the “Kitongoji” in accordance with electron procedures prescribed by the Minister responsible for the Local Government and also who may be removed from office by the decision of a simple majority of such members.
The chairperson of a “Kitongoji” may appoint a Committee of three person s from amongst the resident of the “Kitongoji” to advice on issues beneficial to the “Kitongji” and may also appoint one of the residents to act as Secretary.
The “Kitongoji” Chairperson’s specific functions and responsibilities are:
- To convene monthly meeting of all “Kitongoji” residents to discuss and resolve on issues relating to peace, security and development of the “Kitongoji”
- To maintain a register of all “Kitongoji” residents and other particulars relating to the general
development of the “Kitongoji” including a record of births and deaths
- To ensure peace and security of residents and their property
- To arbitrate on minor conflicts which need not to be referred to the Ward Tribunal or to the courts.
- To mobilize residents to pay required taxes and dues as determined by the District and Village Councils
- To deal with health and environmental issue in the Kitongoji and ensure proper implementation of National, regional and District campaigns against communicable diseases.
- To ensure proper protection of the environment and water sources.
- To follow up and ensure that all school going children secure a place and attend school as required.
- To sensitise residents to participate in adult literacy classes
- To sensitise residents to participate in development activities through self-help
- To represent the Kitongoji in the village council.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE IN TANZANIA
Forms of Local Government in Tanzania
In Tanzania forms of local government include;
- Village government or Neighbourhood (Mtaa) government in rural or urban setting respectively. A village/Neighbourhood government is the smallest local government unit. It is made up of the village/Mtaa Assembly which is headed by a village/mtaaa chairperson and the village/ Mtaa council which is led by the Village/ Mtaa Executive Officer (VEO/MEO). The adult population in the village forms the village assembly. The village council is the executive arm of the village assembly. It has powers to oversee the day to day activities of the village. A village government discharges its functions through its standing committee which are the Finance, economic and planning committee; the Defence and Security committee and the Social service committee.
- District councils. The district council are constituted by:-
- Elected members or councilors, one from each ward in the district
- Three members appointed by the minister responsible for local government
- The Member of Parliament or members of parliament from the constituencies within the areas of the district.
- Chairperson of the village council elected by the district council. Their number does not exceed one-third of the total member
A district council is headed by a chairperson who is assisted by a vice chairperson.
The Chief Executive of the council is the District executive of the council is the district executive director (DED) who is a government employee.
- Urban authorities (Town council, Municipal councils and council). These councils are headed by the Mayor and the deputy mayor who are elected from among the elected councilors. There are also Town Municipal and city Director. A town, Municipal or city Director is the Chief Executive and serves as Secretary to his or her respective function and council.
Functions of Local Government
Local government are expected to perform various functions and duties which can be grouped into two major categories. These are mandatory and permissive functions and duties.
1. Mandatory function and duties of local government
Mandatory and duties of a local government are those function and duties which are to be performed by a local government without question as required by law of the country. The central government requires local governments to perform such duties and the local governments have no choice except to discharge such duties as required.
- Maintenance of peace, order, and good governance
- Promotion of economic welfare and social well-being of all persons
- To further the social and economic development of its area of jurisdiction in in accordance with the national policy and plans for rural and urban development
- Formulation, coordination and supervision of the implementation of all plans for economic, industrial and social development in the area of jurisdiction;
- Monitoring and controlling the performance of the duties and function of the council and its officers and staff.
- Ensuring the collection and utilization of the revenues of the council
- Making by-laws for the implementation of national and local policies
- Ensuring, regulation and coordinating development plans, projects and programs of village and township authorities within their areas of jurisdiction.
- Regulating and monitoring the collection and utilization of revenue of village council and township authorities.
1. Permissive functions
Permissive function are those which the local government may perform depending upon needs and availability of financial resource. Such functions are the following.
- Control or prescription of method of husbandry on agricultural land
- Establishment, maintenance, operation and control of drainage and sewerage works
- Building, equipping and letting shops and dwelling houses
- Charging fees for services and licenses. For instance, taxes on goods and services such as crop cess, forest produce cess, hunting license, fees, business and professional license, etc
- Building and maintaining health centers and primary as well as secondary schools.
The role of local government in enhancing democracy in Tanzania
The following are the ways through which the local government enhances democracy in the country.
- Local governments give chance to many people to participate in election by making democratic decisions through casting votes on the candidates they want. For example, they choose village chairpersons, councilors, etc.
- Local governments bring about greater democratic participation of citizens through holding referenda, recalls, initiatives and citizen assemblies for collective decision making.
- Local governments provide room of involving people in planning and implementation of developed programmes. The purpose of having Local Government Authorities, ion the words of article 146(1) of the Constitution, is “to transfer authority to the people”. Local Government authorities have been given power to participate and to involve the people in the planning and implementation of development programmes within these respective areas and generally through the country.
- Local government ensure that people participate in the affairs of their government in accordance with the provisions of the condition. Eg. the village assembly meets once in every three months and may hold an extraordinary meeting whever there is urgent issue to be resolved.
- Local government enable the enacting of by-laws which are more relevant and which seek to realize the interest of citizen within their locality. For example, the Ward Development Committee formulates and submits to the village council to the District/urban councils proposals for the making of by-laws in relation to the affairs to the Ward.
- Local Government Monitor and control the performance of duties and function of the council and its offices and staff. For instance, the Ward Development committee supervises and coordinates the implementation of Council projects and programmes.
- Local government sensitise residents to participate in development activities through self-help and mobilize residents to pay required taxes and dues as determined by the District and village council.
The role and responsibilities of individual citizen in a democratic society
- Active participation in the community development: A citizen ought to be active in activities such as agricultural activities and other physical works.
- Participation in prevention of crime and reporting: In a democratic society the process of preventing crime and reporting crime is not only the function of the police and other forces but also the duty of every citizen. For that case a citizen has the role and responsibility of providing great cooperation to the forces such as police in order to deal effectively with any social crime in the society.
- Timely payment of taxes: Paying tax and other duties is the responsibility and role of a citizen in a democratic society. He/she has to be punctual in fulfilling this without being forced
- Respect of the law and the constitution: The constitution of any country has the function of directing the country’s leaders how to run the country. It is the role and responsibility of every citizen to respect the constitution by not violating the rules which have been stipulated within it.
- To respect others’ rights: The role and reasonability of a citizen is to respect human rights. These are right to life, right to own property, freedom of assembly and of press, etc
- To combat corruption: Every citizen in a democratic society has the role and responsibility of fighting against corruption. Corruption is a problem in society since it leads to laziness and delays in provision of services. Corruption also weakness human rights because one can be considered to be right if he/she has a lot money and has given bribes.
- Care of the environment, public property and services: Every citizen is responsible to protect and conserve the environment by using applicable methods such as a forestation and reforestation. Also a citizen has the responsibility of caring property like schools, building, roads, national parks and other services constructed by the government for public services.
- Participating in political matters either directly or indirectly: For example, standing in political meeting and joining political organization.
- To have a good conduct and behavior: Every citizen has the responsibility of examining his/her behavior in the country he or she resides. If it seems to be immoral he/she should have a moral obligation to refrain it. For example, bad behavior such as theft, homosexuality, prostitution, use of marijuana and other social crime.
- To exercise honesty and civility: The role of a citizen in democratic society is to be faithful for anything which is planned for development of a communication
- To promote peace and harmony: It is the role and responsibility of every citizen to ensure that unity and solidarity prevail. So every citizen has a duty to ensure that any conflict that arises is settled.
The role and responsibilities of civil society organizations in a democratic society
Civil society organizations (CSOs) are not profit non-governmental organizations that have a presence in public life expressing the interests and values of their members and others based on cultural, ethnic and political consideration e.g. Haki Elimu, TGNP (Tanzania Gender Networking Programme), MWDo (Maasai Women Development Organization), Enviro Care (Environment, Human Rights, Care and Gender Organization), etc.
The following are the role and responsibilities of strong civil society organization in democratic society.
- Supporting policy formation implementation and evaluation through practical advice. For examp0le, the Tanzania Gender budget Initiative (GBI) is organized by Feminist activities (FemAct) led by TGNP and it exemplified effort by civil society organization to engage more directly in the policy making process at all levels.
- Regulating and monitoring state performance and behavior of public official. Active society organizations scrutinize state performance and ethical behavior of public officials to ensure that there is no misuse of power for person interests.
- To enable citizen to identify their values beliefs and democratic practices. Civil society organizations mobilize constituencies especially the vulnerable and marginalized to participate fully in public affairs.
- Civil society organization foster development work of citizens and improve well-being of their own community.
- Civil society organizations act as watch dogs to see what the government does. For example checking the way government respect human rights.
- Civil society organizations act as a link between donors and aid beneficiaries. Since civil society organizations act as a bridge between the state and citizen donors tend to use these organizations as they are able to fulfill the needs of a given society. For example, in Tanzania aid may be given through the civil Society Foundation.
Democratic process and democratic elections
Democratization process involves the political reforms to ensure that the principles of democracy are achieved. One major indicator of democratic reforms is to have democratic elections.
GENERAL STUDIES (GS)-DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND PRACTICES
An election is the process of choosing/selecting person by vote for a given position especially in political office
Democratic elections are elections held in an atmosphere in which participants are tolerant or willing to listen to the political views of their opponents and when the electoral law and rules are fair and equal for all contestants.
Factors which make elections democratic (free and fair)
For an election to be declared democratic (free and fair), the following conditions should be observed:
- A well developed system of many political parties from which people can choose those they wish to be their representatives.
- Equal opportunities to all parties: Candidates and political parties that are contesting in the election should be treated equally
- Widely accepted rules of the game within which the struggle for power takes place.
- Presence of an independent and impartial electoral body. This is required to be honest, competent and non partisan
- The existence of an independent judiciary to interpret the electro law
- Free and fair campaigns : campaigs are political meeting where candidates present their views promise and progmmers and voters ask question .these views can be read or heard from the mass media eg. Radios TVs news paper the posters flies and pamphlets in a democratic state the government allow freedom of expression candinatedes parties and voters are not intimidated threatened bribed or prevented from voting
- the campaigns should focus on political and socio- economic issues like poor education decling economy poor health services bad ,infastractucture low crop prices of agricultural product excessive these these problems and not going astray from them.
- Equal access to the mass media for all political party the mass media which include radio, television, posters newspaper leaflets, banners stikers and internet influence the way people vote. In democratic election all candidates and parties should have equal access to the media. The existing government or the party in power should not dominated the media or suppress the freedom of the press
- Abiding by agreed code of conduct. A code of conduct for a democratic elections a set of rules and regulations that are set by the electoral commission and have to be adhered to all political parties as well as the candidates who are contesting for various political posions.
The Tanzania code of conduct in democratic elections
- All parties shall have access to all potential voters. No party shall have an exclusive control of any area.
- There shall be no use of inflammatory or derogatory language during campaigns.
- There shall be no use of intimidation in any form including death threats and arson.
- There shall be no interference or disruption at public meetings during campaigns.
- All parties shall commit themselves to a secret ballot and respect cotters right to keep their voters secret.
- There shall be ban on carrying and displaying of all weapons during election campaigns and on the voting day.
- The security forces shall not take sides or interference with the election process.
- Election campaigns shall be conducted daily, the parties and voters shall be tolerant of each
other’s point of view.
- There shall be no tempering with or interference with voters ballot papers on the election.
- All political parties shall undertake to accept the results of the election if the electoral process in declared free and fair
Principles of democratic elections
There are four basic principles of democratic elections;
- Universal voting/universal suffrage; This is a condition which allows all citizen who have legally meet voting qualifying to vote and be voted for regardless of their sex, race, language, income, profession, education, religion or political beliefs
- Equality of votes when an election is democratic each votes carries one vote.
- Secret ballot: secret ballot means voting secretly. This condition requires that voting act should not be known by another person, casting of the votes must be in secret.
- Direct elections : This when the votesrs decide for themselves who their leaders will be. That action of casting a vote against or for a candidate means that the voters are directly electing their leaders
Free and fair election in Tanzania
The organ responsible for ensuring that elections held are in a free and fair manner is the National Elector commission (NEC ) in mainland Tanzania or Zanzibar electoral commission (ZEC) for the Zanzibar Isles. This national electoral commission is established by parliamentary act but its top officials are appointed by the president of the United republic of Tanzania and it is expected to carry out it activities without interference and impartiality.
Election are said to be free in the sense that any one qualifying vote in allowed o do so without external influence or interference .Fare election is therefore, unlawful for any candidate party or
candidate to use Government facilitates or resources for the purpose of complaining .It is again very necessary to note that, all candidate are to be given equal access to state owned media secured are for public rallies and political speech
The following are actions that have been taken to ensure fair and free election in Tanzania
i)Passing an electoral law: This was passed by the parliament to facilitate lawful admistration of the national electoral commission the law stipulates detailed instruction and gives the national electoral commission (NEC) the power to:Design print and control the use of ballot paper: create polling stations, promote civic education, on voting procedures, accredit any non –particular individual or group or an institution or an association to carry out voter education: demarcate constituencies :Determine a polling day, keep and maintain voters register ensure that transparent vote counting is exercised and announce the election result.
ii. Provision of election monitors and observes: These are experts responsible for ensuring equal fairness and justice to candidate and parties. This include NGOS eg TEMCO (Tanzania election monitaring council, LHRC(legal and human right center). TEC(Tanzania Episcopal conference)
CCT (Cristian council of Tanzania
- Allowing international election observers whose function are to oversee that elections proceeding are in order and that the who exercise maintain a free and fair approach. For example the 1995 ,2000,2005,and 2010 multiparty general elections in Tanzania international observers were invited for the European union, united nations, Africa union, southern Africa
development cooperation and East Africa
The election process has to undergo a number of stages: these including
- Registration of voters; people who are allowed to vote are those who have sound mind and should be citizen of Tanzania and have the age of 18 years and above .registration of votes is done in special areas prepared by the electoral commission. Registration of votes is very important because it help to know the number of voters .it also help to understand who have qualifications of being a votes
- Candidate selection: every party in Tanzania has it own way of choosing its candidates to contest for councilors members of parliament and presidential position .every party is supposed to indentify` candidates who are likely to win based on for instance persona ability integrity personanality eloquence and above all with no criminal record.
- Organization and management of campaigns: all party candidates given equal opportunities to address the public and present themselves to the voters. All electoral and present themselves to the voters. All electoral campaigns should be done orderly in line with laid out norms and procedures.
- Voting: after campaigns people who are qualified as registered voters go to the parties they like. The voting is done through secret ballot each party being represented at the pollingstation.
- Vote counting counting of the votes follows immediately after complection of the voting and each polling station reveals its results to the public. Those who have the right to participate in the counting process are the representation of the candidate or the political party.
- Announcing the results: The national electoral commission is the only body to announce and the general results of elections. It is responsible to declare winners of all posts starting with those members of parliament and the president
Qualification of candidates contesting for various posts in Tanzania
A political candidate is any person who is qualified for the post he or she is contesting and he or she has been appointed by the political party to contest for that post.
- a candidate for the councilor post.
A candidate for the councilors post should have the following qualifications.
- He/she has to be a Tanzanian citizen
- He/she has reached the age of 21 years and above
- He/she has to master reading and writing Kiswahili or English language
- He/she has to be a member of registered political party and be appointed by the party to be a councilor candidate.
- He/she has to have a credible source of income which will enable her or him to live a decent life.
- He/she has to have a resident of the ward or town where he or she is contesting for councillorship.
- He/she has to have not less than ten sponsors who have been registered in the ward where he or she is contesting.
- He/she must not be convicted for tax evasion for period of 5 years before election.
- He/she has to have a bond of 50,000 cash money and submit in to the election supervisor.
- He/she must take oath using a special form in front of magistrate to testify that he or she has the qualifications to be a councilor and has accepted to be a candidate.
- a candidate for the parliamentary post
For the parlimenty post a candidate has to have the following qualification.
- He/she has to be a citizen Tanzania
- He/she should have acquired the age 21years and above and be mentally fit.
- He/she has to master writing and reading skills in English or Kiswahili language.
- He/she must not be convicted for tax evasion for a period of five years before election.
- He/she has to have at least 25 sponsors who are eligible voters in his or her constituency which her or she is contesting
- He/she must be a member of registered political party and be appointed by the party to contest for the parliamentary post in the respective constituency.
- He/she should take the oath by using special forms in front of the parliamentary post.
- He/she has to have a bond of 500,000 cash money to be submitted to the election supervisor from NEC.
- A candidate for presidential post.
The qualifications of presidential candidate of the united republic of Tanzania are
- He/she has to be a citizen of the united republic of Tanzania by birth
- He/she has to have reached age of 40 years and above
- She/he has to have the qualifications that would enable him or her to be a member of parliament
- He/he has to be a member of a registered political party and should be appointed by the party to contest for the presidential post
- He/he should not have any record of tax evasion within a period of 5 years before election.
- He/she has take the oath in front of a judge of referral court to testify that he or she has accepted to be presidential candidate.
- He/she has to 200 sponsors who have been registered as eligible votes from all regions of Tanzania. The sponsors should sponsor only one candidate for the presidential post in one election.
Role of various group in the election process:
- These nominate names of candidates who will contest for the existing vacancies.
- Political parties have to provide civic education to their members and the public at large as well as encourage people to
Participate in political activities e.g. registration and voting.
- Political parties have to prepare their party manifestos that disclose what will happen in case a party takes over the executive office.
2. Electoral commission
This is the key organization which over sees the entire election process:
- It provides voters education
- It ensures fair play in elections
- It ensures the candidates meet the qualification required for the post they are contesting for:
- It prepares votes registration books and updating, it ensures that every person who qualifies to be registered as voter is given a chance to vote.
- It prepares the constituency centers for voting
- It sets the dates of election
- It oversees voting activities in the whole country
- Announces election result.
The government has to provide the financial material and security support for the election process:
Non –government organization (NGOS)
- They provide voters education to the citizens by using different means and approached
- NGOS must not impart education that can divide people by any means
- NGOS are not supposed to take the role of political parties
- The mass media should educate people on the importance of participating in the election process
- The mass media should be make sure that citizens are aware of political manifestations of very party, and play to be as impartial as possible
- The mass media should make people aware of election results as are given by the Elector commission
This is target group: citizens have a big role to play in election by:
- Registering in votes registration book:
- Participating in the campaigns and listening to the political agendas/ manifestation of different political parties and deciding which to vote for the most appealing
- Casting their votes on the voting day
- Receiving accepting or rejecting the result.
- Informing the official if they think there was malpractice in the electoral process. E.g. corruption and intimidation.
The election will therefore be free and fair only when all groups take part in the whole process. The failure of any group to the party of the process is likely to jeopardize the whole exercise
The importance /advantages of democratic elections
- Democratic election help give the opportunity to voters to choose good leaders: voters believe that electing a different party or candidate can be an alternative to solve their problem and improve their lives: thus elected voters make laws or by – laws that have a direct impact on the day life of people. Good leaders are very important to people’s development.
- To ensure good government: when good leaders are voted into office by the people through democratic voting they form a good and effective governance. Free and fair elections ensure that people make informed choices of parties and candidate
- To make the government accountable for its actions. The part which is vote in office seeks to serve well the voters. Elections are therefore means of building a responsible government by rejecting corrupt parties or candidates in an election.
- To place in office a government of people’s choice: Democratic elections are vital in forming a
new government. Though elections the voters show acceptance. Rejection or dissatisfaction.
- To improve the political system. Any ruling party which comes to power maker effort to prove to the electorate that it is capable of forming an effective government. Opposition parties on the other had try to convince the electorate that they can do. Better than ruling party. In this situation the political system
Short coming of the democratic elections:
- It is costly: the whole process toward Election Day is expensive. The producer include scrutinizing candidates, publicity driving electro constituencies, registering, voters monitoring the campaigns courting the ballot and verifying the ballot paper when necessary all these require a lot of money.
- Elections are time consuming . this is because the outlined steps have to be ffowed precisely by all contestants and their supporters.
- The reasons for choosing candidates can be right or wrong. In centrain circumstances same candidates may influence voters to vote for them through bribes deceit tribalism religion personal wealth nepotism or social status
Short comings in the multiparty general elections in Tanzania
- Constraints on media: there are about 245 private newspapers, over 134 newspapers owned by government agencies and deportment and about 44 religious newspapers. However, the newspaper act of 1976 contains many restrictions on freedom of the press. For example section 5 (2)grants vast power to the minister responsible for information to deregister any newspaper at any time he or she thinks it does not quality. Similarly, 25(1) gives minister power to ban any newspaper at any time he or she deems right to do so for. Example in October 2008 Mwanahalisi was banned by the government for three months allegedly for having published seditious article
- Shortage of fund; section 13(1) of political parties act 5 no.5 of 1992 states that not only registered political parties which have parliamentary seats and popular votes are the ones qualified for funds. This makes only few political parties to quality for subsidies . for example
,after 2005 general elections CCM received Tshs.555.5 million per month (82.8%) of the total CUF received 77,2 million ,CHADEMA received Tshs 1.4 million. Hence there is a concern among opposition political parties that this wide resource disparity constrains the opposition to spread nationwide.
- Oppressive laws on political association: section 40, 41, 42 and 43 of the police act, cap. 322 R.E 2002 require any political party whether provisionally or fully registered purpose of such a meeting. However the police frequently use these section to cancel oppotion political parties meeting on ground that the meeting is likely or intends to cause a breach of peace or jeopardize the public safety in the area.
- Lack of independence and impartiality of the national Electoral commission this stems from the fact that all member of the commission are appointments are not clear and transparent to the extent that most stakeholders lose trust and confidence in the commission
- An element of corruption during campaigns’ and election whereby the part vanguards dish out
items like t- shirts khan gas dirking food etc to allure the voter.
- Minimal participation of citizen in the election. Over 50% of the registered voters did not show up in the 2010 general election.
- Poor preparation: for example poor registration of voters led to same constituencies to repeat voting exercise in buseresere karagwe etc during the 2010 general election
- Unequal access to media coverage especially state owned media opposition parties do not get adequate access to mass media owned by the government.
- Intimidation of the opposition parties by government authority. This includes raiding and interruption opposition party campaigns.
- The ruling party is constantly being accused of using state owned funds and resourceses such as vehicles for party campaigns
The practices of human rights Meaning
Human right are fundamental rights or rights that human beings is born with and area inherent in him or her and not granted by the state of any person.
Normally the state enhances human right but does grant the human rights. Categories of human right
Right which an individual must have include but not limited to the following.
- Civil and political rights (also termed as the first generation rights)
They include the right to equality and protection before the law; right to organize right to self- determination; freedom from arbitrary torture ; right to life freedom of assembly: right to due process: right to be leader or to choose representatives in the government : freedom of worship: freedom of movement right to marriage freedom of speech: freedom of expression freedom of inquiry and criticism freedom of slavery and servitude etc.
- Solidarity community or collective right (also known as the third generation right)
They include: right to cultural identity righty to clean environment the right to development the right to peace etc.
Origin and development of human right wide
The standard western account of the tradition human right is same what problematic
human right is relatively new in the daily use which started after the Second World War and the founding of the united Nations before this period human right used to be known as natural right or the right of man most scholars of human right trace the concept back to ancient Greece and Rome during this are human rights were attached to natural law it was conceive that all rights of citizens came from natural and not the state or individuals. However the human right development story has multiple layers as it involves a dispute between those who believe in human rights and those doubts. Following below is a brief account of the important events for explaining historical background to the origin and development of human rights.
- Early legal developments in the area of human rights are said to have emerged from the magna carta of 1215. The magna carta was a contract between the English king john and representative who were dissatisfied with the taxes being levied by monarchy. This agreement guaranteed the right for a free man not be arrested or detained in prison or deprived of his
freehold or outlawed or outlawed or banished. Or in any way molested innless by lawful judgment of this peers and the law of the land
- The English bill of right of 1689. The English bill of right of 1689 is also sometimes considered to be a stepping stone to day s texts on human right .the parliament declared that no excessive fine(be) imposed nor cruel and unusual punishment (be) inflicted
- The work of a number of philosophers and writes: the work of a number of philosophers had a very concrete influence on the articulation of demands in the form of natural right of man same philosophers were such as John Locke, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emmanuel Kant, Alan Gerwith, Jeremy Bentham, Thomas Paine, Olympe de Geuge, Marry Wollpastone Craft, Hersch Lauterpacht, ect.
- John Locke’s second Treatise of Government published in 1690, considered men in ‘a state of natural’ where they enjoyed ‘a State of Liberty
- Jean Jacques Rousseau’s The Social Contract published in 1762 developed the idea that and individual may have a private will and that his private interest may dictate very differently from the common interest. He also argued that following the genaral will makes man free.
3.. Emmanuel Kant: Emmanuel Kant, a German philosopher, also contributed to the contemporary appreciation of the importance of respecting human dignity as he developed two imperatives stated as follow:
- Alan Gerwith: In the words of this modem philosopher, “ Agents and institutions are absolutely prohibited from degrading persons, and treating them as if they had no rights or dignity”. This is often the starting point for right theories that emphasize the importance of individual autonomy.
- Thomas Paine: Thomas Paine was radical English writer who participated in the revolutionary changes affecting America. He emigrated to Africa in 1774 and in 1776 produced a widely read pamphlet call Common Sense which attacked the idea of rule by Monarchy and called for Republic government and equal rights among citizen. He also worked on the constitution of Pennsylvania and fot the subsequent abolition of slavery in that state. He further wrote a book entitled ‘Rights of Man’ which appeared in 1791 in defense of the French Revolution.
- Olympe de Gouge: Olympe de Gouge made effort to promote a Declaration of the Rights of Women and a ‘Social Contract Between man and Woman’ with the view of regulating property and inheritance rights.
- In England, Mary Wollstonecraft’s “Vindication of the right of Women” appealed for a revision of the French Constitution to respect the right of women, arguing that men could not decide for themselves what they judge would be best for women
- Jeremy Bentham: In the 19th Century, natural rights or the rights of man became less relevant to political change and thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham ridiculed the idea that ‘all men are born free’ as ‘Absurd and miserable nonsense’. For Bentham, the rights were legal right and it was the role of the law makers and not natural rights advocates, to generate and determine their limits.
- Amartya Sen: Thus contemporary scholar had a different thinking from that of Jeremy Bentham for him; human rights are pre-legal moral claims that can hardly be seen as giving justiceable rights in court and other institutions of enforcement. He cautions against confusing human rights with legislative legal rights.
- The 1776 American Declaration of Independence: This is also taken to be one of the influential phenomenons to the birth and development of the practice of human right. It stated that:
“We hold these by their to be self-evident, that all men are created equal: that they are allowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights: that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
- The French Declaration of the Rights of man and of the Citizens of 1789. It contained articles which recognized and proclaimed that; “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights” and that “the aim of every political association is the preservation of the natural and invaluable rights of man.
These rights are liberty, property, security and resistance to oppression”
- The first World War event: The development and practice of human rights also has a bearing on the First World War. At the end of the war, Versailles Peace Treaty of 1919 established the League of Nations and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The League developed and promoted minorities’ treaties; fostered the development of international workers’ rights and worked on the abolition of slavery. Specifically, here there developments by the Lague cab be noted:
- goal of fair and humane condition of labour for men, women and children was stated explicitly in the League Covenant
- The human right of individual was granted legal protection on the bases of individual ties to a state and in order to reduce political tensions among states that might lead to war.
- Workers right were to be recognized and protected as this was seen by some states as the best way to prevent their population from turning to communism and to reduce the aims of revolution
- Inter war period: in this the inter war period there was some interest in developing the scope of international law to cover concern for individual right. Following the end of the Second World War, the united nations charter was respect for human right and obliged state to cooperate with UN for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human right.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Right (1948) the establishment of the United Nations organization signaled the beginning of a period of unprecedented international concern for the protection of human rights. Under the auspices of the UN, several key instruments were establish for the promotion and protection of human rights. The day after the adoption of the Gonocide Convention, the general Assembly proclaimed the universal declaration of human rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Though not binding legal document but it contain actual human right obligations and states a common understanding of the people of the world concerning the inalieble and inviolable right of all member of the human family. Furthermore thought the universal declaration of human right the UN gave an international meaning to the expression human right. Since then various human right treaties have been developed. The following is an abridged version of those human rights contained in the universal declaration of human rights.
- All human being are born free and equal in matter of dignity and Justine
- No human being should be discriminated against on whatever basis such as nationality, colour, religion, gender, social, class etc
- Every human being has the right to live a free life and to be assured of his/her security (iv)It is prohibited to enslave any human being
- It is prohibited to persecute any human being or subject him or her to cruel treatment and humiliation
- All human being are legal before the law and have equal right to be protected by the law. Every human being has the right to seek and get justice in the courts whenever her or she falls victim of violation of his or her basic right recognized in the constitution and the law of his/her country of residence
- It is prohibited to arrest, detain or deport anyone from his or her country of nationality without fundamental reasons
- Every accused person has the right to be heard and defend him/her in an independent and impartial court
- It is prohibited to arbitrarily interfere with an individual person life such as his or her privacy, family, residence or communications
- Every person has the right toseek and live a descent life politically, economically, health wise and culturally.
- It is prohibited to arbitrarily, interfere with an individual person life such as his or her privacy, family, residence or communications
- Every person has the right to choose where to live so long as in so doing one does not interfere with other people’s rights or the just laws of the country concerned
- Every person has the right to leave his or her country freely and return freely without undue obstacles
- Every person has the right to nationality. It is prohibited to strip someone of this his or her nationality without basic reasons or deny him or her the right to change his or nationality when he or she so wishes
- Every human being individually or collectively has the right to own property
(xvii) It is prohibited to confiscate someone’s property without a due and just legal process which guarantees a satisfactory compensation.
i) The international convention: following the adoption of the universal declaration of human rights the United Nations organizations human right commission began to work on a binding text in the form of a treaty together with measures for implementation. Two instruments were developed on the 16th December 1966. These were: the civil and political rights convention (including right like rights to life, liberty, fair, trial, freedom of movement, thought, consciences, peaceful assembly, family and policy. It also prohibits slavery, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment, discrimination arbitrary arrest and imprisonment for debt) as well as the Economic, social and culture rights conventions (including right such as right to education, food, housing, health care, the right to work anad to just and favorable conditions of work. Both of these came into force in 1976. These two covenants taken together with the universal declaration of the human right area sometimes referred to as the International Bill of Rights.
i)In addition to the international bill of human rights these are other treaties that are considered core to the human rights system. They include the “international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination” which come into force in 1969 and prohibits any distinction exclusion restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing of human right and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.
iii)The other convention core to the human right system is the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women. This is designed to ensure women have equal access to political and public life as well as education, helth and employment. Under this convention which entered into force 1981, sates are also obliged: to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women.
(iv)The convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment comes into force in 1987. The convention includes a definition of torture (for the purposes of the convection) and insists that any party to it undertakes obligations: to take measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction not to return any person to state where there are substantial grounds for believing that person would be in danger of being subjected to torture and to ensure that acts of torture can be prosecuted in the courts of that state even though those acts occurred abroad.
The convention on the rights of the child defines a child as every human being below the age of eighteen unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
This has historical roots in the Geneva Convention of 1924 which was the first international covenant to mention the rights of the child.
It seeks to protect children from practices that particularly endanger their welfare, including economic exploitation, trafficking, and illicit use of drugs and all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse. The guiding principles of the convention are the need to take into account the child’s best interests. Non discrimination, and respect for the wishes of the child. The convention was adopted in 1989 but enters into force in 199 and has become the most widely ratified of all UN human rights treaties. The only member states not to have ratified the convention are Somalia and the united state.
The other core human rights treaty is the international convention on the protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and their Families, which entered into force in 2003.
Unfortunately, the states that have accepted obligation under this treaty are mostly states that export migrant workers avoid the reach of this treaty and the prospect f supervision by the monitoring body.
- Two new treaties were adopted at the end of 2006. The first is the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Key rights concern the right to work, and the right to education. States are obliged to refrain from discrimination on grounds of disability and to take measures to eliminate such discrimination by any person, organization or private enterprise.
The arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or deprivation liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.
Protecting human rights through the treaties/conventions/covenants:
These treaties, and a series of parallel developments at the regional levels the Organization of American States the Council of Europe and the African Union, articulate a range of rights and testify to governments stated desire to protect human rights. But do they work? Clearly the daily evidence of human rights violations suggests that drafting and signing treaties is not enough Considerable effort has been expended to make the treaty guarantees more effective. This has been undertaken on a number of fronts.
- First expert monitoring bodies have been established to examine the reports of governments on how they fulfill their human rights obligations. This involves a ‘constructive dialogue’ over two or three days and results in ‘concluding observations’ from the relevant committee. Some monitoring bodies engage in fact-finding and country visits. In the context of the prevention of
torture, the Council of Europe’s expert body makes periodic and ad hoc visits to places of detention in 46 European states. A new UN committee is expected undertake similar visits to those states that ratify a new treaty
- Second, under some treaties, complaints can be brought by aggrieved individuals against the state at the international level (usually only against those states that specifically recognize a right to complain under the treaty). In particular, one has to recognize the remarkable work of the regional bodies such as the European and American Courts of Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. These bodies have developed an impressive case- law which not only develops our understanding of the scope of human rights, but has led to some concrete protection and changes in the law. This system for individual complaints is at the same time remarkable for the volume of judgments delivered in Europe (the European Court of Human Rights delivered over 1,000 judgments in 2005) and for its astonishing under-utilization in the rest of the world (for example, in a