CSOs urged to uphold their watchdog roles

23Nov 2019
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
CSOs urged to uphold their watchdog roles

CIVIL society organizations (CSOs) in the country as well as those operating around the East African Region have been cautioned not to give up their watchdog roles out of fear, intimidation or getting compromised by people in positions.

Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa.

“Civil societies are the spokespersons of the ordinary people; they stand better chances of advocating for the right of the communities since they are more educated and organized,” pointed out Onesmo Ole Ngurumwa, from the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition.

He was addressing representatives from Civil Society Organizations and other human rights groups who are converging in Arusha for the conference on ‘Civil Space and the role of civil society organizations in shaping better future,’ taking place for two days in Arusha.

The conference is organized by ‘ActionAid Tanzania,’ ‘Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition,’ and the ‘Training Center for Development Cooperation,’ taking place at the TCDC campus in Usa-River area of Arumeru District of Arusha.

According to Ole Ngurumwa, once the watchdogs fail to deliver on their responsibilities, the aggrieved members of the community, most of them being disorganized individuals will take it upon themselves to address emerging problems or cruelty in society using horrid means including uprising strategies.

“Many organizations have been doing well, supplementing their watchdog activities in the provision of other community services, such as health, education and attending other social needs of people, but they should not forget their bedrock responsibilities of advocacy, watchdog roles and speaking on behalf of the voiceless,” pointed out Ole Ngurumwa.

The THRDC representative was presenting a paper on ‘Defending Human Rights and Civil Space in Tanzania – Policy and legal frameworks and practical challenges affecting civic space,’ and while at it he expressed concern that of late the watchdogs have been ditching their core missions in favour of some trivial undertakings.

Other presenters, including Kenneth Simbaya, Ezra Mbogori and Yaekob Metena were on view that even the media outlets no longer make use of the CSOs representatives in their live commentaries or special programs unlike in the past when these people would make use of the platforms to address various issues affecting the societies.