Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

Tanzania: Kikwete Remains People's Favourite - Survey

LATEST findings from a survey conducted by the Twaweza initiative shows that trust in individuals is higher than in institutions, with 91 per cent of respondents trusting in religious leaders while 84 per cent put their trust on President Jakaya Kikwete.

The same report, however, saw respondents expressing more trust in courts of law and the police force than the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Company (Dawasco) and the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco).

According to a statement issued by the Twaweza Communications and Advocacy Officer, Risha Chande, the findings are from a policy brief titled, "What does Dar make of governance" that involved 550 households in all districts of Dar es Salaam, conducted in August and September 2010.

The report cited that the high levels of faith and trust in the president and religious leaders provide an important opportunity to address some of the existing service delivery challenges. "Only 29 per cent of Dar es Salaam residents trust Dawasco, 65 per cent have faith in the courts of law and 62 per cent trust the police force in as far as working in the interest of the public is concerned," the report reads in part.

A third (29 per cent) of the participants revealed that in the previous 12 months, they found themselves in a situation where they were forced to give a bribe to get a service from a health facility that should have been provided without charge.

More than one in 10 respondents (12 per cent) reported having bribed a police officer to avoid a fine or other consequences. Other findings showed that the least trusted individuals, however, are members of parliament (MPs) with just 44 per cent believing that their representatives in the august house act in their interest.

It also showed that MPs were elected by their constituencies and expected to serve citizens' interests by becoming accountable to them. "For this to work, people need to know how to convey concerns and ideas to their MPs. However, in Dar es Salaam, nearly half (46 per cent) of respondents did not even know who their MPs were, let alone interacted with them," it reads in part.

At the same time, almost 60 per cent of respondents think that corruption had increased compared to five years ago. "Almost three in ten said they had to pay a bribe to receive 'free' services at health facilities in the 12 month period before the survey, while one in ten reported bribing the police during the same period," the report reads.

The survey also revealed low levels of awareness of national policies and priorities as well as knowledge of political representatives, where over 70 per cent of respondents had either never heard of or were unable to explain 'home-grown' poverty reduction strategy, dubbed MKUKUTA, Kilimo Kwanza and/or the East African Community (EAC).

Mr Elvis Mushi of Twaweza noted that poor service delivery was an issue that the government needed to tackle as a matter of urgency. "However, as citizens, we have the right and responsibility to ensure that we play our part, by learning about policies and national priorities, raising issues that we experience and by communicating with the individuals and institution that represent us so that they are aware of our views," he said.

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