DAR-ES-SALAAM– Adherence to the rule of law under the government of President John Magufuli has propelled Tanzania to emerge as the best democracy in East Africa and 13th in sub-Saharan Africa, with an overall score of 5.47 in the 2017 Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Kenya and Uganda have been ranked second and third in East Africa respectively while in sub-Saharan Africa, they are ranked 15th and 17th, correspondingly in the 2017 Democracy Index released here Wednesday under the title, Free speech under attack.

The Director of Tanzania Information Services (Maelezo), Dr Hassan Abbas, told the media that the index was compiled based on five criteria — the electoral process, civil liberties, the functioning of the government, pluralism, participation and political culture.

Kenya and Uganda had overall scores of 5.11 and 5.09 and were ranked 95th and 98th respectively at global level. Mauritius was ranked the best democracy in sub-Sahara Africa, clinching position number 16 globally.

Tanzania was ranked in position 91 out of 165 countries globally. However, the Index, which assesses the state of democracy in 165 independent states and two territories in 2017, has recorded the worst performance since the aftermath of the global financial and economic crisis in 2010.

The findings of the index should be a wake-up call for government leaders and public servants that their services to the people are recognized and appreciated globally and hence the need to improve even more, said Dr Abbas.