Several times recently on this blog (e.g. here) I have referred to Tanzania’s increasingly competitive, and hot, political environment. But I have had to use anecdotes and newspaper articles as evidence that Chadema is challenging CCM as never before. Does the data back this up? Let’s take another look at the Afrobarometer survey series to find out.
Chart 1 – Political party preferences in Tanzania since 2001
The five Afrobarometer public opinion surveys in Tanzania since 2001 have all included a question on political party preferences. In 2001 and 2003, the survey asked respondents which party they felt most connected to. In 2005, 2008 and 2012, they were asked which party’s presidential candidate they would vote for if an election was held the following day. This is a standard opinion poll question that is used all around the world.
Data from Afrobarometer.org. Results for 2001, 2003 have been calculated based on responses to a different survey question, so are less reliable.
“It’s all rosy for Tanzania,” runs the Daily News headline. It’s not about media freedom, the state of public services, political stability or religious tolerance, but another vitally important component in the country’s development – economic growth. The article goes on to give some impressive growth figures, by anyone’s standards:
“The 2013 African Economic Outlook Report, launched last week, confirmed the impressive performance of the economy, which grew [by] 6.9% in 2012 and is estimated to reach 7% this year and 7.2% in 2014.”
But another recent report raised some very important questions about this economic growth. In particular, is economic growth benefiting the poor?
I’m talking about the Afrobarometer survey series, which published its latest data and reports last week. Their survey results and analysis are always worth looking at, as the data is among the best data on public opinion across the continent. The latest round covered 35 countries. It hit the headlines for its conclusion that the “Africa Rising” narrative needs more nuance – see here in the Guardian, for example. Continue reading →
Let’s start with the good news. If you are a final year (St 7) Primary School student in Bukoba Urban, with parents who completed secondary education and who are not very poor, you went to pre-school and your family speaks Swahili at home, then you have a 95% chance of being able to completed Standard 2 level tests in Numeracy, Swahili and English.
And the bad news: If you are a St 7 student in Kibondo District, with parents who didn’t themselves attend school and are poor, the chance of you being able to complete the same tests is only 9%. Continue reading →
For years, the true state of household sanitation in Tanzania has been hidden by bad data. Household surveys have repeatedly found that around 85% of households across most of Tanzania have access to a pit latrine, with around 10% having better facilities (like flush toilets) and around 5% having nothing. This high level of access to basic latrines is a result of Mwl Nyerere’s Mtu ni Afya campaign in the 1970s.
But other than providing an opportunity for an interesting history lesson, this statistic was almost useless, as it made no distinction between well constructed, clean pit latrines and filthy, overflowing or uncovered pits. Now, at last, we have better data. Continue reading →
It’s Maji Week, so a good time for some more analysis of key water supply issues. Several times this blog has presented arguments that the main challenges in rural water supply are political rather than technical or even administrative. We’ve argued, for example, that two of the biggest problems (inequitable distribution of access to clean and safe water in rural areas and keeping rural waterpoints functioning) are both political issues, and reported on how this perspective is far from the conventional wisdom in the water sector, dominated as it is by engineers and technocrats. And we’ve shown how political attention has failed to match the political nature of the sector by documenting how little focus there was on water supply in last year’s general election campaigns – as reflected both in campaign manifesto commitments or in the media (and again here). But we’ve not yet looked at one of the most politicised aspects of rural water supply – data. Continue reading →
How much coverage does water supply get in national newspapers? Answer, not much. In the past year since Daraja has been monitoring the press, there was a peak of stories around Maji Week and World Water Day in March, but otherwise not much. And in the election campaign period, the number of stories has been even lower than usual, presumably since space is taken up with other campaign issues. Continue reading →