Parliament as Machinery for Political System Control: The Inner Workings of Bunge, Tanzania
Based on the assumption that Africa’s democratic consolidation is better served by an autonomous and influential parliament1 capable of holding the executive accountable, this chapter contrasts the accountability function of Tanzania’s post-1990s parliament with that of the one-party Tanzanian legislature. It analyses the internal functions of the multiparty Bunge (parliament) with particular reference to the committee system and party groups’ contribution to parliament’s ability to perform its accountability function. Accountability here refers to a two-dimensional concept that broadly embraces both answerability—the requirement to inform, explain, and justify—and enforceability, the capacity of accounting agencies (here parliament) to impose sanctions.2 The empirical focus is on the transition from an essentially rubber-stamp Tanzanian parliament under the 1965–1992 one-party regime to what ideally should be a strengthened parliament with the gradual and formal restructuring to democratic rule from 1992 onward.3 More specifically, the chapter inquires into the political role of the national assembly in Tanzania and examines critically to what extent it plays a significant role in holding the executive arm of government accountable.
KeywordsSelect Committee Standing Committee Party Line Committee System Parliamentary Committee
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