Tanzania Local Government Authorities: Structure and Function

1.1. Meaning of local government.

   Is the system of administration in which elected representative area in charge of the administration of region, districts, urban centers and villages. The members of this authority are elected by the resident of these areas. The local government authorities were established in 1982.

1.2. Reason for the establishment of local government.

  1. To give more power to the people in the localities.
  2. To widen the system of democratic leadership.

1.3. Structure of Local Government 

There are two categories of local government authorities these are:

  1. Rural authorities which are known as district council
  2. Urban authorities

The district councils range from the village level to the district level.

The urban authorities are responsible for the administration and development of town ship municipalities and cities.

Structure of Tanzania Local Government Authorities


1.3.1. District authorities The village government

The village government is the smallest unit in the local government.It is formed by 250 households.The area with the number mentioned above is likely to be declared to have village government.

Village government works through their major organs which are the village Assembly,village council and village committees.


                  Structure of the village government



  1. The village assembly


          It is composed of the entire adult population living in the village. The head of the assembly is village chairperson who is elected by the village assembly. These are function of village assembly.

  1. Adopting by laws of the village.
  2. Electing the village chairperson.
  3. Electing the village council.


  1. B. The village committees
  2. There are different committees in the village including planning, finance, economic, affairs, social services, security, forest production and water resources.

The committees perform different roles in the village according to their specialized categories.  

  1. The village council.

Members of the village council are twenty five in number. They are elected by the village assembly.

Their head is the village chairperson. The village council is the executive arm of the village assembly.

  • It performs the day – to – day government activities of the village under the supervision of the village Executive officer (VEO) who is appointed by the district council.


Function of the village council  

  1. Planning and coordinating village activities
  2. Giving assistance and advising the villagers on development matters like agriculture and industry.
  3. Encouraging village resident to undertake and participate in communal enterprises.
  4. Proposing by – law for the village.      The ward government


          The structure of ward government is divided into three main parts which are the ward committee,ward Executive officer and the departments(which includes several departments.




           Ward Development Committee

          It is the highest organ under the chairperson who is the ward Councillor is elected by the citizen during general election after every five years.

          Ward Executive Officer


         Is the leader and coordinator of all development activities within the ward.He or She is an employee of the district Council.


        Ward departments


        Ward has several departments as seen in the structure above.

          Some of the roles and function of the word development council include:

  1. Developing general plans for the word
  2. Managing disasters and other environment related activities within the word.
  3. Reviewing the proposals for the village council projects and passing them on for further approval at the district level. The district councils

The district council is composed of:

  1. Chairperson who is elected from among the Councillors.
  2. Councillor from each ward in a district.
  3. Chairpersons of Village Councils elected by the district council.
  4. Three members appointed by the minister for Local Government Authorities.
  5. Members of parliament from constituencies within the district.


  Structure of Distinct Council


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The district Executive Director (DED) is appointed by the president he or she is the secretary to the district council.

The district council had the following committees.

  1. District Development Committees.
  2. Finance administration and planning committee.
  3. Economic construction and environment committee.
  4. Education, health, and water committee.
  5. Ethics committee.

The roles and function of district council include:

  1. Supervising the implementation of all plans for economic, commercial, industrial and social development in the district.
  2. Approving by laws made by the village council.
  3. Coordinating palms, projects and programmers for the village in the district.
  4. Providing environment protection and managing in the district.
  5. Promoting the social welfare and economic well being of residents.
  6. Passing by – laws applicable in the district.
  7. Submitting by – laws to the regional officer for comments and submitting the by – laws to the minister for local government Authorities for approval.


1.3.2. Urban authorities

Urban authorities include town, councils, municipal council and city council. Town Council

The town council is found at town level. usually, it is independent from the district council. The structure of the council constitutes councillors elected from each ward, members or parliament representing constituencies with the town. other are members o the periament who resides in town, and five members who are appointed by the minister responsible for local government. The township has The Chairman and the Town Director who is the chief exercutive Municipal Council

These are found in towns with a population of over 80,000 residents. Tanzania municipal council includes Dodoma, Morogoro, Kinondoni, Ilala, and Temeke.

Members of the municipal are the same as those of town council and headed by mayor.      

Officials in municipal are:

  1. The mayor, who is the head of the municipal council and is assisted by the deputy mayor,.

These two are elected among councils.

  1. A municipal executive director. He or she is a secretary to the municipal council.
  2. The chair person and vice chairperson of the municipality. City Councils

Tanzania currently has five cities namely:

Dar es salaam, Mwanza, Arusha, Tanga, and Mbeya . The city councils composed of:

  1. Councilors, one from each ward in the city.
  2. Members of parliament representing constituencies within the city.
  3. Six members appointed by the minister for local government Authorities from among the city resident.


Officers in the city council are:


       The mayor-Elected among members in the city Councillor


      The city director-Appointed by the president.


Urban Authorities have committees which are:

  1. Economic affairs, health, and education and environment.
  2. Finance and administration.

The role of urban authorities includes:

  1. Facilitating the maintenance of peace, order and good governance.
  2. Promoting social welfare and the economic well being of the local community.
  3. Furthering social and economic development of their areas
  4. Taking necessary measures to suppress crime and protect public and private properties.
  5. Regulating and improving agriculture, trade, economic, and industry.
  6. Enhancing the health, education, social well – being and recreational life of the people.
  7. Eradicating poverty.

Functions of urban authorities.

Taking and requiring the taking of measure for conservation of natural resources, prevention of soil erosion and prohibition of improper cultivation.

  1. Keeping the environment clean.
  2. Taking measure aimed at preventing injury to public health.


1.4. Functions of Local government

The local government authorities have three main function which are administration, maintenance of law and order, and economic and development planning. In order to fulfill these functions the Local government authorities.

  1. Hold public resources in trust.
  2. Initiate, plan and perform development activities in the Civic areas.
  3. Provide social services, for instance road maintenance, primary, health care services, primary education and adult education.
  4. Legislate or debate and adopt by laws.
  5. Maintain law, peace, order and good governance in their localities.
  6. Charge fees for services and licenses

Each council operates like the national government council has three arms. These are

  1. The legislative arm composed of elected and nominated councilors.
  2. An executive arm composed of permanent staff headed by the clerk to the council.
  3. A judicial arm generally known as the municipal or city courts.
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Small council has their judicial matters referred to the nearest magistrate courts.


Council organ


1. Legislature

a)           Makes by law.

b)          Approves council policies.

c)           Approve the council budget for onward transmission to the l minister.

d)          Represents resident in the council.

2. Executive

a)           Provides social services like water and road.

b)          In force by law.

c)           Initiates council policies.

d)          Does council budgeting and internal auditing.

3. Courts

    The council does not have magistrates of their own but get magistrates seconded from the central government judiciary.

These courts interpret the council by law.


1.5.   Student participation in school and local government authorities

Student has a duty to participate actively in function of their school as well as local government authorities.


  1. In school.


  1. Students can participate actively in school function in the following ways:
  2. Working hard in school in order to achieve the school’s academic goals as well as their oral academic goals.
  3. Debating matters relating to their schools development and coming up with ideas.
  4. Electing their students council or government.
  5. Enforcing laws enacted by the school authority to bring peace and harmony in the school.
  6. Participating in the school development project.
  7. Taking part in activities to protect the school environment.
  8. Visiting people with special needs in the community like children’s homes and old people’s homes.


  1. In local government authorities

Student can participate in the function of the local government in the following ways:

  1. Planting trees in the local area.
  2. Volunteering in development project such as construction of school, and dispensaries and road maintenance.
  3. Demonstrating to their parents or guardians what they area thought in school for the improvement of their locality.

1.6. Important Effect of Local Government on People’s Lives

Local authorities are very important in people’s lives since among the six allocation schemes of local government in the central budget five focuses on the well being of the people. These five schemes are:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Water
  • Agriculture

The six schemes focus on local administration.

The function of local government has positive effect on peoples live. These effects are:

  1. Peace, order and harmony prevail in their localities.
  2. Production is conducted without any interference.
  3. Local government encourages democratic participation.
  4. People benefit what they contribute to the local government.

1.7. Source of local government revenue

Revenue is also called income.

Source of income / revenue for local government are:

  1. Rent

Example of rent is:

  1. Houses rent from council houses.
  2. Rent from market stalls.
  3. Land rent and services charge.
  4. Licenses

A license is a permanent from an authority to come out an activity own or use something. A person can apply for a license for things such as:

  1. Auctioning
  2. Driving
  3. Retail trading
  4. Entertainment
  5. Fishing
  6. Duties

Duties are fees paid for certain goods and services. Example includes:

  1. Customs duties, paid on goods brought in to the country.
  2. Stamp duty, paid for some legal democracies.
  3. Excise duties, paid for some goods made, sold or used within the country.
  4. Contributions

Resident living in an area contribute to their local authority through.

  1. Fee under by law.
  2. Court fines.
  3. Paying for the use of community centers.
  4. Hiding fund raising for community project.
  5. Grant and Loans

These are fund given by the central government and various local and international agencies to the local government authorities.

1.8. Expenditure Of Local Government Authorities

   – Expenditure is the act of spending or using money.   

– The local government spends money on the following ways.

  1. Salaries, wages and allowance paid to the local authority’s official and employees,
  2. Operation costs for instance telephone, water and electricity bills.
  3. Maintenance of assets e.g. painting council houses and updating computer software.
  4. Paying consolidated fund services constitutional officers and debts.
  5. Development expenditure for instance road construction and maintenance, building schools and climes.

1.9. Control Of Local Government

Local government falls are under the prime minister is office where there is a ministry responsible for local government and regional administration.

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     The regional commissioner is the assistant proper officer for the district council, town council and village council established within his or her district.

       The minister for local government Authorities and the Regional commissioners are empowered to approve annual budgets of their respective authority.

In the district town municipal and city council there are directors. These directors are accountable for the council’s fund.

Melkisedeck Leon Shine

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