What does Dar make of governance?

Residents of Dar es Salaam are dissatisfied with levels of service delivery, report rising levels of corruption and have little trust in the institutions and individuals who are meant to represent and serve them. There are particularly high levels of dissatisfaction with the management of public service delivery. But a large majority of residents see religious leaders and the President as having citizen interests at heart.

These findings were released in an Uwazi at Twaweza policy brief titled What does Dar make of governance? Perceptions about services, policies and leaders. The policy brief is based on a survey conducted in 550 households in August and September 2010. The survey was carried out in Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke districts. Respondents were asked questions about their views on service delivery and how they addressed issues of concern.

Despite high levels of dissatisfaction and mistrust, residents of Dar es Salaam do not report taking significant action to change service delivery outcomes. Fear of punishment could be one reason why. Close to 40% of survey participants thought it was somewhat or very likely that speaking out against poor service delivery would lead to punishment. In general, survey respondents reported taking action in groups rather than as individuals. The most popular forms of engagement were participation in street discussions (48%); attendance at community meetings (59%) and school committee meetings (40%). On the other hand, only 8% of respondents raised issues through correspondence and only 10% called into radio programs. Other reasons for the relatively low levels of action in relation to high levels of dissatisfaction could be a lack of awareness of the means and tools of engagement open to citizens, or the belief that it would not make a difference.

Elvis Mushi at Twaweza notes that ‘Poor service delivery is an issue that the government needs to tackle as a matter of urgent priority. However, as citizens, we have the right and responsibility to ensure that we play our part, by learning about policies and national priorities, raising issues that we experience, and by communicating with the individuals and institutions that represent us so that they are aware of our views.’

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Authors: rose aiko



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