What sort of MPs do people prefer? Do members of political parties value MPs who have been active in Parliament, who have made vocal contributions and asked critical questions? Do voters care about how much their MPs have held the executive to account on the floor of the Bunge?
One indicator for answering these questions is to analyze the relationship between active/dormant MPs and their performance in the preferential polls of CCM, the dominant political party in Tanzania. In the poll held on Sunday 1st August, 2010, 203 elected CCM MPs were trying to become CCM flag bearers in the upcoming general election. Of these, 75 lost and 128 won. The final decision on which candidates will stand for the Party during the national elections is expected to be made by CCM’s National Executive Committee (NEC) in Dodoma on August 14, 2010, but the poll gives an indication of the preferences of its ordinary members.
In this note we present six key facts regarding the relationship between the participation of MPs in Parliament and their performance in the CCM polls. Data for the participation in Parliament is drawn from the Uwazi brief entitled Do they work for us? Update on the 19th session of the Bunge, which is based on information provided in the Bunge website; data on poll results is drawn from newspaper reports.
Findings reveal that less active MPs were more likely to win. This is very clear when considering the 10 most active ordinary CCM MPs, of whom 7 did not survive the primaries. By contrast, all of the least active MPs won in the polls.
The only exception holds for female CCM MPs, for whom holds that the more active ones were more likely to win in the primaries. High level government officials were found to have a very high chance to win their primaries; much higher than that of MPs who did not serve in high government positions.
These findings raise questions about the role and functioning of Parliament and the preferences of the ordinary CCM members who voted in the preferential polls. In particular, it raises questions about the extent to which CCM MPs are valued for the way in which they hold the executive to account on the floor of the Bunge.
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