As we approach the inevitable end of year 2012 and the fresh promise that a new year brings, we at Uhuru Blog reflect on what needs to be accomplished in 2013 so that Tanzania can embark on a path to prosperity:
1. 2013 is potentially a huge year for fans of transparency and accountability as the Tanzanian Minister for Information has promised to introduce a Freedom of Information Bill in parliament after a long 7 year wait (News story from The Citizen). This Bill will ensure citizens with a right to access public, government held information. We need our Members of Parliament to support this initiative and to hold the Ministry of Information to task if they don't deliver. Do our MPs have what it takes to put aside political pressures and do the right thing? We urge all our readers and citizens of Tanzania to follow this issue closely, and lets prove the government wrong when they said that such a bill is not needed as citizens dont demand information (News story from The Citizen).
2. Another important document that will be approved in 2013 is the Natural Gas Policy which will determine how lucrative gas contracts will be awarded and how revenue raised will be used. Uhuru Blog has published an in-depth post on how to improve transparency of this process to ensure that we don't leave any opportunity for the corrupt to take advantage!
We here, in Tanzania are at a critical turning point where the old status-quo of government not being accountable to its citizens is at an end. The ordinary citizens of Tanzania are more aware and interested in dealings of the government thanks in part to hard work of civil society organizations as well as power of the internet to disseminate ideas.
UHURU BLOG PROMISE: We at Uhuru Blog will work tirelessly in 2013 to bring you unbiased and well-researched opinion pieces on the state of Tanzania's affairs. What part are you going to play in making a better Tanzania in 2013?