The question of presidential term limits came up this week. The Second Vice President of Zanzibar, Seif Ali Idd endorsed the idea of increasing the presidential term from 5 to 7 years, which had previously been raised by, among others, the CCM MP Juma Nkamia. Last year, former President of Tanzania, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, said he wished President Magufuli was not constrained by term limits and could remain in power for many years.
President Magufuli has always shunned the suggestion, saying he “will respect the Constitution. … I’ll pass the mantle to the next president when the time comes.” But what do citizens think?
The conversation is now taking place, in a way that has not been the case since the country’s founding father, Mwl Julius Nyerere, stepped down from the presidency over 40 years ago.
We can assume no change in term limits can happen without a change in the constitution – either to extend the term to 7 years or to remove the 2-term limit on the number of terms a president can serve. This would need public support. So it’s worth asking, what do Tanzanian citizens think of the idea?
The good folks at Afrobarometer have been asking people about this for many years, both in Tanzania and elsewhere on the continent. The charts are below, but the conclusions are clear:
- The vast majority of Tanzanians (86%) think it is important to keep term limits in place. This figure has remained consistent over the last ten years.
- This figure is high relative to the Africa-wide average (75%) and higher than other comparable countries such as Kenya (84%), Zambia (79%), Malawi (78%), Uganda (67%) and Mozambique (50%).
In other words, Tanzanians are pretty firm that they like having strict term limits, and are unlikely to support the idea of changing the rules on this.