Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Hate or love him, Magufuli is poor’s president


            To be straight and precise, I must state it from the outset that this piece seeks to make peace between the powers that be and Twaweza. Clearly, speaking to power is an arduous and perilous business. Whoever speaks to power must get ready to face the ramifications or rewards of doing so. I am coming from the perspective, constitutional one, that we, the citizenry, have the right to expression within certain parameters stipulated by the constitution. So, too, everybody’s the right to defending him/herself. Therefore, what I am to write here aims at nobody or any group. I read somewhere one person complaining that president John Pombe Magufuli cannot be the president of poor or rais wa wanyonge while his popularity is cascading. Has Magufuli’s popularity practically cascaded or snowballed?
            Without mincing words, I must categorically state. Whether the popularity of Magufuli is cascading or swelling is subject to dialogue. Let’s ponder on Twaweza’s poll that’s evoked hullabaloos. First of all, Twaweza, just like any citizenry, have the right to express their views without contravening the law of the land. Further, mark my words. Twaweza, just like any pollster, must have their reasons to come up with what they came up with. Either way, Twaweza may be genuine or otherwise depending on the motifs and motives behind the said poll. All depends on how one looks at the issue in point. Again, who’s, and how can we get the big, true picture of the real situation?
            Secondly, let’s be a wee bit serious. Does Magufuli really need Twaweza to gauge his performance and popularity? In the book How to Lie with Statistics, King (1986) notes that “they [statistical situations] do not measure what they appear to; they substitute statistical jargon for political meaning; they can be highly misleading; and in nearly all situations….” Furthermore, Rex Stout, in Death of a Doxy notes that “there are two kinds of statistics, the kind you look up and the kind you make up.” Moreover Best (2005) maintains that “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” I am trying to offer reliable academic sources to substantiate my point.
            Twaweza’s recent polls created a lot of brouhahas and bugaboos unnecessarily. Before passing the judgement on Twaweza, we need to ask some important questions. First, what modality was used in conducting the poll? Secondly, how was the sampling done? Thirdly, what ethics was abode by or breached?  What methodology was employed? What were the presaged results? Was there any or proofs of impartiality? Who funded the survey, what for and why now not then? Did the pollsters use focus groups or its antithesis? Were the questions asked seeking multiple choices to get the answers or otherwise? What’s the rationale and relevance of the study?  This is because, as per Joey Reiman, a founding partner of the Bright House Institute, “the sad fact is, people tell you what you want to hear, not what they really think.” What makes me twitchy and even cagey is the fact that the said poll was released at the time Magufuli captivated Tanzanians by unveiling the newest plane, the Boeing 787-8 Dream liner Jet. What Twaweza did is like accusing a kind person of spitefulness at the time s/he’s offering his or her wealth like crazy. Let’s be a tad fair. Did Twaweza go to rural areas where the media, mainly government media, have much follow? What’s the composition of the participants?
            I understand. Magufuli isn't an angel. But looking at how he pulled Tanzania out of hopelessness, it doesn’t hold water to currently argue that his popularity is waning while his crusade against graft seems to bear more fruits in a very short time than Tanzanians expected. For example, his cherry-picking and firing style of his appointees have convinced, not all, but many Tanzanians that he's the president they needed and voted for.
            Off-the-cuffs: It is sad that CCM’s and Government’s personnel paid for defending it aren’t doing their homework adeptly and by the book. When Twaweza came up with its findings, what’s supposed to be done isn't going after its neck but finding another competent and independent pollster to replicate the exercise. For, vexing Twaweza is as good as exonerating it. First of all, Twaweza is not alpha and omega with regards to surveys in Tanzania. Keeping on pursuing it is as good as using a bomb to kill a fly. For whatever reasons that geared Twaweza to come up with its findings, there are many options and reasons to convincingly and practically interrogate and watering down its findings. Sometimes, I wonder if the CCM’s spin doctors and Ikulu’s information sections are manned by people with their professions in the field. Keeping on pursuing Twaweza is nothing but doing their PR bit. 
            In sum, does Magufuli really need Twaweza to impart him on Tanzanians who are already in love with him thanks to his performance? I don’t personally know Magufuli. Neither am I paid for to do Magufuli’s PR job.  Still, my wife, kids and I’ll abundantly and peacefully eat and sleep here where I am.  Again, in all conscience, take it from me. Apart from the father of nation, the late Mwl J. K Nyerere, no president boasts the trust of the majority of Tanzanians like Magufuli does. Let’s interrogate Twaweza’s findings, modality, rationale and inputs to the building of our country without fear or favour based on the premises that we all have the rights to expression and defense of selves. Give Magufuli a break so that he can get time to fulfill what made Tanzanians vote him as their president.
Source: Citizen, July 25, 2018.

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