Tanzanian pollster under fire over president’s poor score

Tanzania- Tanzanian authorities said on Thursday they have ordered a local advocacy group to explain itself or face legal action after it published a poll showing President John Magufuli’s popularity had dived by 41%.

The NGO Twaweza (which means “we can make it happen” in Swahili), last week published the results of an opinion survey on the state of democracy in Tanzania.

According to by the NGO survey of about 1 200 people, it revealed that citizens felt their freedoms have been diminished since Magufuli took office in 2015 as a corruption-fighting “man of the people”.

The survey conducted in 2016 survey which did not draw criticism,  held Magufuli’s popularity rating at 96%.

Their latest research said this had dropped to 55%, the lowest recorded rating for a president in the country’s history.

The Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) held a conference on Thursday, acting director general Amos Nungu confirmed the contents of a letter circulating on social media, which highly criticsed Twaweza for their research.

“You are hereby required to show cause, within seven days from the date of this letter, why appropriate legal action should not be taken against your organisation by the relevant authority,” read the letter dated July 9.

Nungu accused Twaweza of violating “research procedures” and slammed the NGO for publicising the letter.

However Twaweza director Aidan Eyakuze denied leaking the letter to the media and said his organisation was “working on our response”, they response is expected on Monday.

Ado Shaibu, spokesperson for the opposition Alliance for Change and Transparency, accused the government of trying to tarnish Twaweza.

“Opposition parties and the ruling party have often been the subject of Twaweza polls without running into trouble. I think this time Costech wrote to Twaweza because the poll was not favourable to government,” he told a press conference on Thursday.

Magufuli has been criticised by rights groups and civil society organisations over his authoritarian leadership style, since he come into power.

His critics say he has close down on the  opposition and freedom of expression in the country.

Photo Credit- Business Focus

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