How can people demand accountability of their government? How will the internet affect this? Will the internet allow the diaspora to become actively involved in decision making in Tanzania? These are questions indirectly raised by this open letter to President Jakaya Kikwete posted by Issa Michuzi yesterday. It concerns the granting of sole rights of vehicle inspection by the Tanzania Bureau of Standards to a company in the UK for vehicles being exported to Tanzania.

The letter appears to have originated from the Tanzanian community in the UK. Naturally enough, it makes its plea in the framework of policies and procedures of the Tanzanian government. More interestingly, it also uses UK government regulations to back up its case. A translation can be read below.

Open letter to His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Your Excellency, this letter outlines our complaints as Tanzanians concerning the operations of TBS (Tanzania Bureau of Standards) with regard to the granting of a licence for inspection of vehicles being exported from the UK to Tanzania to WTM Utility.

Your Excellency, many complaints and important questions have been raised by citizens concerning the award of this tender which went contrary to procedures. Some of the grounds for these complaints have have been explained in citizens’ blogs show the complaints which have not been addressed.

If you get the opportunity, please view the following:

http://wemsas.blogspot.com/

http://www.tzcommunity.co.uk/ http://saidiyakubu.blogspot.com/2007/06/katika-taarifa-kwa-vyombo-vya-habari.html
http://tbswtmuncovered.blogspot.com/2007/06/tamko-rasmi-la-wtmtbs-uncovered.html

 

Your Excellency, it should be known that as citizens we do not want to avoid controls of imports of vehicles or any other goods from outside the country. What we are questioning is the wisdom of the decision by TBS to award the tender for vehicle inspection to WTM Utility.

Your Excellency, in short, here in the UK, there is a special section which governs the inspection of vehicles. This government section has special laid down procedures which WTM either does not have or cannot follow, or reach the standard which are laid down by VOSA – the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. This government section of the oversees the quality of vehicles on UK roads in general, popularly known as MOT.

Your Excellency, this government section licences vehicle inspection in thousands of garages in the UK, which amounted to 18,300 garages last year. These follow the clear regulations laid down by VOSA for vehicle inspection of all vehicles in the UK.

Your Excellency, the issue is, WTM Utility has only one or two garages in the whole of the UK, and they claim to have mobile units which they use for vehicle inspection. This alone goes against the law and regulations of vehicle inspection. Read this , which explains clearly these regulations.

Your Excellency, these are important questions which we ask you, as Tanzanians living in the UK, to raise with TBS.

Did they communicate with VOSA or the Ministry of Transport in the UK and the business communities in the UK and Tanzania concerning vehicle inspection? Your Excellency, we ask these questions in order to know if these decisions bypassed one of the legal requirements for such decision making processes.

Preparation of Standards
Tanzania Standards are the national documents prepared through consensus of all interested parties i.e. consumers, producers buyers, research institutions, etc standard specify inter alia quality requirements for final products, sampling procedures, test methods, labelling, and good manufacturing practices…

 

You can read more here.

How can WTM provide services throughout the UK, which has over 18,000 registered garages for the whole country, while WTM has only two garages and one mobile unit?

Your Excellency, as Tanzanians living in the UK ( http://wemsas.blogspot.com/ ), we wish to contribute to the development of our country in the business sector (import/export) as well as to invest in our country. All of this is to help ourselves, our families and all low income Tanzanians, in the interests of fighting poverty, as outlined in the MKUKUTA report.

Your Excellency, amongst the issues outlined in the MKUKUTA report is the third component of Governance and Accountability. TBS continues to act outside proper channels that have been outlined in that important report concerned with ending poverty. Your Excellency, TBS is undermining the efforts of MKUKUTA, so the responsibility for addressing poverty falls back on the citizens. Some of these channels from the 2006 report are as follows:

MKUKUTA CLUSTER III: Governance and Accountability
Assessment of broad outcomes
Assessment of cluster goals:
GOAL 1 Structures and systems of governance as well as the rule of law to be democratic, participatory,
representative, accountable, and inclusive
GOAL 2 Equitable allocation of public resources with corruption effectively addressed
GOAL 3 Effective public service framework in place to provide foundation for service delivery improvements
and poverty reduction
GOAL 4 Rights of the poor and vulnerable groups to be protected and promoted in the justice system
GOAL 5 Reduction of political and social exclusion and intolerance
GOAL 6 Improve personal and material security, reduce crime, and eliminate sexual abuse and domestic
violence
GOAL 7 National cultural identities enhanced and promoted

 

Your Excellency, we have been been blocked by government agencies, such as TBS, the retired chairman of TBS, Mr. Mwakyembe has said that “TBS is not the army or police”, in statements made by him and reported on the internet here.

The demands of business people and citizens in general

Your Excellency, as Tanzanian citizens here in the UK, we ask you to use your powers to establish an independent commission of inquiry to investigate this issue. If this is difficult, we ask you to inform the Prevention of Corruption Bureau to investigate this issue.

Finally.

Your Excellency, let me tell you a story about NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration – of America. They spent nearly one million dollars to research what type of pen would be suitable for use in the Space Shuttle. Russia decided to use a pencil. Does this tell us anything about our issue? This is something to ask yourself.

It is our believe that the government should announce via TBS that any vehicle coming from the UK for use in Tanzania should be MOT certified, this should be openly announced and many would welcome it.

Thank you very much for receiving our message. It is our expectation that we will get a quick decision. Also, we would like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and your administration for the government’s open decision making concerning citizens and the country in general.

We will continue to use the opportunity to visit your website and to bring our recommendations and appeals whenever necessary.

God bless Tanzania

Thank you.