16 June 2017

Tanzania: Twaweza Study - People See Graft As the 'Lesser Devil'

Photo: The Citizen
Corruption (file photo).

It is now clear that Tanzanians now see corruption as a lesser serious problem than was the case in previous years, which fits with President John Magufuli's strong public posture against corruption and mismanagement, a new survey by the advocacy organisation, Twaweza, has revealed.

Citizens equally see health, education and water as less serious problems than before, which may reflect the government's actions on public service, especially after the president's free primary education drive.

The new findings were released by Twaweza in a brief research titled 'The End of the Beginning? Priorities, Performance and Politics in Tanzania'.

The brief was based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa's first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey, and collected from 1,805 respondents across Mainland Tanzania.

According to the survey that was conducted in April, 2017, during the same period, citizens' concerns about public services and corruption appear to have diminished following Dr Magufuli's crucial effort in the public that saw many unscrupulous officials fired or suspended.

Presenting the findings, Twaweza Executive Director, Aidan Eyakuze said seven in ten, or roughly 71 per cent, of respondents approve of the performance of Dr Magufuli since he took oath of office.

This is down 25 per cent from 96 per cent in June 2016 when the same organization conducted a study, titled The People's President? Citizens' Assessment and Expectations of the Fifth Phase Government.

However, CCM Ideology and Publicity Secretary, Humphrey Polepole attributes the drop in rating to the fact that it was conducted in April when the country was facing drought and a raging debate in the media over hunger, but was optimistic that in the next survey, the CCM chairman would receive a higher approval rating.

"In my opinion, I think the findings were politically orchestrated without looking at the real situation ... . but if this survey were conducted again, I believe Dr Magufuli will garner the higher percentage (than hitherto)," he said, of his own analysis of the findings.

According to Mr Eyakuze, majority of citizens continue to approve of the president's performance, on that the sharp drop in ratings, combined with the drop in approval ratings for all politicians, sends a (wrong) message that citizens were fast losing trust in their political leaders.

"But beyond the headlines, approval ratings, he continued, a more interesting trend is visible. First, the sharp drop in people mentioning public services as priority areas is noteworthy.

These sectors have consistently topped the ranks for citizens' main challenges over the past three years. This poll suggests that citizens are signalling improvements in terms of public service delivery," he noted.

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