The role of ICTs in enhancing citizens’ involvement in decision-making in local governments in Tanzania
This paper reflects on citizens’ participation in local governments in Tanzania. Using documentary review, it ponders on the efforts being taken to ensure that the citizens effectively participate in decision-making in local governments. Attention is specifically directed at exploring the position of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in fostering participatory decision-making by drawing experience from various studies on citizens’ participation in local government authorities. In examining the efficacy of the studies on participation that have been undertaken since Tanzania embarked on local government reforms, it observes that both the policy makers and researchers have accorded limited attention to the role of ICTs in facilitating inclusive decision-making at the grassroots. The paper shows that these actors have continued to focus on physical interactions rather than looking at other platforms for interactions such as e-participation and the extent to which ICTs are utilized or can be used to facilitate decision-making at lower levels. Against this backdrop, the paper underscores the need for local government stakeholders to accord more attention to the potential of ICTs in ensuring effective citizens’ participation.