64 per cent of Tanzanians felt that freedom for political parties to hold rallies had been diminished and 62 per cent believed that the media too was intimidated to criticise the government and hold it accountable.
Just days after unveiling the ‘unpopular’ findings which revealed that President Magufuli’s popularity had plummeted by a massive 41 percent, just over two and half years into his presidency, their troubles started and by the look of things, it seems it will drag for quite a while just like the survey itself.
According to the Twaweza survey; The Voice of Citizens, findings based on data collected from 1,241 respondents across Mainland Tanzania released last week, a majority of citizens felt they had less freedom now than three years ago when President Magufuli came to power.
64 per cent of citizens felt that freedom for political parties to hold rallies had been diminished and 62 per cent believed that the media too was intimidated to criticise the government and hold it accountable.
Well above half of the citizens (54 per cent) felt not free to air their political views.
55 per cent of respondents endorsed President Magufuli’s performance compared to 96 per cent of ratings in 2016 and 71 per cent in 2017.
On the question of political leanings, 58 per cent said they were affiliated to the ruling Chama Cha Mapunduzi (CCM), whose national chairman is the president.
When the same question was asked in 2012, CCM attracted a following of 65 per cent signifying a 7 per cent drop, while CHADEMA, the main opposition party, got 26 per cent, with 4 per cent going to other parties.
For their ‘unpopular survey which cast the president in bad light’, the government felt they had to be punished.
The government has confiscated the firm’s executive director Aidan Eyakuze passport and barred him from leaving the country.
"They did not tell me what was the reason behind confiscating my passport and why they did not want me to travel outside the country," Mr. Eyakuze said during a press conference in Dar es Salaam on Friday.
The government’s agency, Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) followed suit and served the pollster with letters accusing it of conducting research without a permit and demanding a response on why disciplinary action should not be taken against it.
It is not ‘majority’ of Tanzanians however, as per the survey who are not fans of Mr. Magufuli.
Early this year, Tanzania’s opposition firebrand Tundu Lissu, who survived an assassination attempt, accused Magufuli’s administration of gross human rights abuses and shutting down democracy space in the East African nation. He described Tanzania as “a land of horrors,” and likened Magufuli’s regime with “a skunk that should be isolated.”
“A Kenyan politician, whom I will not name, warned us some years ago that this regime would commit terrible acts against the opposition should it sense defeat. Based on what is happening in my country right now, I can now confirm that he was right,” he told journalists at his hospital bed.
Once a darling of foreign investors President Magufuli has proven a headache for businesses and he is giving investors in the country sleepless nights with some even considering an exit.
Africa’s richest man and Nigeria's Aliko Dangote didn’t have any kind words for him either.
“They’ve scared quite a lot of investors and scaring investors is not a good thing to do,” he said at the Financial Times Africa Summit in London.
“Once an investor complains the rest will run away, they don’t even want to hear the details.” He complained as he advised Mr. Magufuli to “have a look at” his policies.
By the looks of things and if the findings of the survey are anything to go by President Magufuli may just be owning up to his nickname ‘Bulldozer’