by Ben Taylor
Debates in the media and at the Constituent Assembly on the second draft constitution have included heated arguments on whether the draft has broad popular support. Most particularly, this focussed on whether there is popular support for the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) proposal to establish a three government structure, with separate governments for Zanzibar, Tanganyika/Mainland Tanzania, and the Union.
The chair of the CRC, Justice Warioba, cited data collected by his team, to claim that “on the mainland, 13% supported One Government, 24% supported Two Governments and 61% supported Three Governments. In Zanzibar, 34% supported Two Governments and 60% supported a contract-based Union, and 0.1% (25 people) supported One Government.”
President Kikwete interpreted the same data differently, pointing out that 86.4% of those who gave their opinions to the Commission “didn’t see the form of the Union as a problem, which is why they didn’t raise the issue at all. So people are asking how today 13.6% of all Tanzanians who gave their views has become the majority of Tanzanians!”
Two non-governmental organisations – Twaweza and the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) – have collected data to shed light on this. Together, they conducted a nationally-representative opinion poll survey, collecting people’s views on the current draft constitution (draft 2). Data was collected on the mainland through Twaweza’s Sauti za Wananchi mobile phone survey panel, and on Zanzibar by ILPI’s Wasemavyo Wazanzibari survey.
The charts here are taken from their report, which included the following key findings:
• There is widespread support, particularly on the mainland, for the
draft’s proposed measures to improve transparency and accountability (Figure 1).
• Two thirds of respondents on mainland Tanzania support the proposal to allow independent candidates to stand for parliament and for the presidency (Figure 2).
• There is strong support (80%) on Zanzibar for the “three-governments” proposal. Support on the mainland is substantially lower, at 43%, though still a sizeable group (Figure 3)
• When asked what kind of changes they would like to see in the relationship between the mainland and Zanzibar, there was strong support on Zanzibar for both the “three governments” proposal (46%) and for “more autonomy for Zanzibar” (45%). On the mainland, responses were spread much more widely, with significant numbers expressing support for single government (28%), no change (25%) and the threegovernments (22%) (Figure 4).
• When asked whether they would vote for the current draft, just under two-thirds of respondents both on Zanzibar and the mainland said they would support it (Figure 5).
• However, when asked whether they would still support the new constitution if the three government proposal was removed, support on Zanzibar dropped dramatically, to the point that a majority (53%) said they would not vote in favour of such a constitution.