Do MPs who speak out in Parliament get re-elected?

On October 31st 2010, Tanzanians elected a new President and the 10th Parliament that will serve them until another election in 2015. Many MPs who served in the 9th Parliament stood for election. Did voters take account of their Performance in Parliament when deciding which MP to vote for?

Using data from the Bunge website Uwazi analysed the link between MPs activity during the 9th parliament and the likelihood of MPs being re-elected for another term. The analysis presented in the policy brief titled,"Who returned? Performance in the Bunge and MP re-election" shows that less than half of the elected MPs who served in the 9th Parliament were re-elected.

The analysis, further shows that active MPS (i.e., MPs who asked more questions and made contributions during Bunge debates) were more likely to be re-elected. On average, returning MPs made 92 interventions during the 9th parliament while non returning MPs made 81 interventions. 

According to the researchers, Cabinet members and other high-ranking officials were more likely to be re-elected than ordinary MPs. For example, while 80 percent of MPs who were Cabinet members were re-elected, only one third of the ordinary MPs (i.e., MPs who were not high ranking officials in the Government) retained their Parliamentary seats.

The analysis also reveals that Political parties with more active MPs in Parliament gained more seats in the October 2010 election, while the party with less active MPs lost seats. The Civic United Front (CUF) and Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) have the highest number of MPs who did not return to the August House.

In combination, these facts suggest that performance of MPs in the Bunge does matter to voters. For the 10th Parliament, the implication of these findings is that parties with ambition to grow in the future would do well to encourage their MPs to actively participate in the business of the Bunge.

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