Tag Archives: governance

Chart of the week #8: Democracy in Tanzania, according to Afrobarometer

More from the excellent Afrobarometer surveys this week, from the latest report on their 2012 surveys. The topic is democracy.

First, what is the demand for democracy in different parts of Africa? This chart shows the percentage of people in each country who said both that they support democracy and that they reject authoritarian alternatives (authoritarian rule, military, one-party state): Continue reading

A step backwards on the road to democracy

"In order that a paper is not closed down. Obama: we envy Tanzania's economy. Mafia declines aid. Tanzania supports Japan."

“To avoid closure, papers should write like this. Obama: we envy Tanzania’s economy. Mafia declines aid, they have no problems. Tanzania supports Japan.” From Mwananchi, October 2010.

Tanzania trades on its reputation as an “island of peace,” (relatively) well governed, (relatively) democratic, and (relatively) peaceful. It is getting harder and harder to justify that reputation.

On Saturday, two of Tanzania’s leading newspapers – Mwananchi and Mtanzania – were suspended from publication by the government (unofficial English translation), Mwananchi for 14 days and Mtanzania for 90.

Freedom of the press is a fundamental pillar of democracy, a cornerstone of good governance and accountability. Any restrictions on that freedom – which can in some cases be justified – should be handled with extreme caution and used only in the most extreme circumstances. These are not those circumstances. Continue reading

Campaign finance in Tanzania: Is anyone following the money?

The money trail

The money trail (image taken from http://low2highafrica.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/final-days-of-cycling.html)

Peter Nyanje, with a “polite reminder” in The Citizen:

There is a need to give 2015 General Election countdown more space in our debates because, as we speak, many of those who harbour the desire to become Tanzanian leaders, including the top most posts, the presidency, have already begun the race.

Many people have started to receive numerous forms of donations, gifts and assistance in various forms and little do they know that they are being slowly bought into certain election camps. This is very dangerous.

There should be a mechanism of safeguarding people from these candidates with a lot of funds. If we allow these funds to influence the decision makers – the voters – we will not have credible leaders in 2015. Continue reading

On the back of an envelope: Tanzania’s #NoSimCardTax mess

sim card

It’s a tiny little thing, just 2.5cm long, 1.5cm wide and a millimeter thick. And yet it has found itself at the centre of a political storm in Tanzania. I’m talking, of course, about mobile phone sim cards.*

In case you missed it, the Tanzanian budget, passed last month by parliament, included provision for some new taxes, most notably a tax on mobile phone sim cards. It’s set at TZS 1,000/- (around $0.60) per month. And it’s in a mess. Continue reading

The power of “we”

BAD 2012Today is Blog Action Day, and this year’s theme is the power of “we”. So I thought I would throw a few observations out there.

About how Jimmy Savile got away with his abuses for so long, at least in part by denying his victims the power of “we”. They were isolated individuals, lacking the confidence that they would be taken seriously if they spoke up. Now, when the first accusations came out, the trickle quickly became a flood, with each person speaking out giving more and more confidence to other victims, making it easier for them to do the same. This is what can happen when people are denied the power of “we”. Continue reading

Rural water supply in Tanzania since independence, and for the next 50 years

It is, quite rightly, the season for raising our eyes and looking up at the horizon. December 9th, 2011 will mark 50 years since the British flag came down on Tanganyika and the country’s life as an independent nation began. So what better time to think a little further than the hot political issue of the day (which is usually forgotten within a week or two) or even most NGOs’ furthest horizon – the 5 year strategic plan?

There are plenty of others who are better placed to assess Tanzania’s past achievements and future prospects in political or economic terms, so I won’t trespass on their terrain. But I can say something about rural water supply. In particular, I have identified two themes of change in the sector – covering the past 50 years and the next – that I think may be of interest. Continue reading

The politics of water supply are coming to the boil

This blog has long argued that the major challenges in the water sector are more political than technical. We have also highlighted the fact that the political nature of the challenges has not been matched by political attention. Water supply was largely ignored in the 2010 election campaigns, for example, not featuring in the major campaign promises of any of the big three parties’ presidential candidates nor gaining much attention in election media coverage (here and here).

Now, four separate developments in the past few weeks point to a change in the politics of water supply in Tanzania. So what are the new developments, and what is the change that they point to? Continue reading