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Gustavus Adolphus College

Publication Date

Spring 2016

Program Name

Tanzania: Wildlife Conservation and Political Ecology


In 2015, John Pombe Magufuli won the Tanzanian presidential election, continuing on the 54-year reign of CCM, the political party founded by the country’s “father,” Julius Nyerere. Before the end of his political career, Nyerere had massive influence in selecting the future candidates of the CCM party that would take the presidential office. However, 2015 was the first election in which the CCM candidate was not selected, influenced, or supported by Nyerere. While CCM has been in power since independence, opposition parties have been steadily increasing in support. For this reason, the 2015 election was critical in determining whether Tanzanians would maintain support for the ruling party or push for shift in political power. Magufuli was victorious with 58% of the vote, revealing that citizens still support the CCM political platform.

Throughout his 6 months in office, Magufuli has received world-wide press for being a politician determined to make changes to the Tanzanian government. Immediately after taking office, he removed multiple high-ranking government officials accused of corruption, cancelled the Independence Day celebrations to conserve funds, and ordered new medical equipment after witnessing dismal conditions of hospitals. Consequently, Magufuli has earned an overwhelming amount of support from Tanzanians with a national approval rating of 90%. However, a national survey commissioned by Mwananchi Communications Limited revealed that young people gave Magufuli the lowest approval rating of 78.3% (Nyanje, 2016).

For my Independent Study Project, I researched the frequency of political participation, engagement, and perceptions of Magufuli by distributing a survey to 120 students at the College of African Wildlife Management located in Mweka. The sample frame was the entirety of the approximate 600 students attending CAWM, but my sample population was the 120 students I surveyed during my 14 day data collection period from April 6th to the 14th This study was non-random and non-representative. The quantitative survey data reveals gender differences in the frequency of political participation, as well as non-gendered trends regarding perceptions of President Magufuli. The survey data also corresponded to the results of the national survey, as male respondents 18 to 24 had a lower approval rating of President Magufuli in comparison to students aged 25 and older. Lastly, qualitative data was recorded from a student focus group and faculty interviews to incorporate a cultural, political, and economic context into the study.


Economics | Gender and Sexuality | Political Science | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology


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