Category: East Africa Published on 28 February 2012 Dar es Salaam. Tanzania has been ranked as the most democratic nation in East Africa region in a research which covered 165 independent nations in the world.The Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index score that provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide, has also slotted Tanzania into the 90th position in the global list. According to the 2011 state of democracy index released by the EIU, Tanzania emerged 90 out of the 165 independent states but it was number one for the East African region covering Uganda, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda. Worldwide, Uganda took position 96 but it was second for East Africa followed by Kenya at number 102 (third for East Africa), Burundi was 113 (fourth for East Africa) and Rwanda 138 (fifth for East Africa). The overall democracy index is based on five categories of electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the functioning of government, political participation and political culture, said The Economist Intelligence Unit in its report entitled: Democracy under stress. Tanzania's overall score was 5.64, followed by Uganda: 5.13, Kenya: 4.71, Burundi: 4.01 and Rwanda: 3.25, said the report, indicating that Tanzania scored 7.42 on electoral process and pluralism, 4.29 on functioning of government, 5.56 on political participation, 5.63 on political culture and 5.29 on civil liberties. The report said countries are placed within one of four types of regimes ‑ full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes, and authoritarian regimes. The report said although almost one-half of the world's countries can be considered to be democracies, the number of "full democracies" is low, at only 25 countries; and 53 countries are rated as "flawed democracies". It added that of the remaining 89 countries in the index, 52 are authoritarian and 37 are considered to be "hybrid regimes". Under this categorization, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Burundi fell under "hybrid regimes" while Rwanda was under authoritarian regimes. Predictably, developed countries dominate full democracies category, and only two Asian countries of Japan and South Korea are represented in that category, said the report. It said almost one-half of the world's population lives in a democracy of some sort, although only 11 per cent reside in full democracies, adding that some 2.6 billion people, more than one-third of the world's population, still lives under authoritarian rule with a large share being in China. The report said flawed democracies are concentrated in Latin America and eastern Europe, and to a lesser extent in Asia. It said despite progress in Latin American democratisation in recent decades, many countries in the region remain fragile democracies where levels of political participation are generally low and democratic cultures are weak. "There has also been significant backsliding in recent years in some areas such as media freedoms," said the report. The results of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index 2011 show that democracy has been under pressure in many parts of the world. The democracy score declined in 2011 for 48 countries out of the 167 that are covered. The score increased in 41 countries and it stayed the same in 78. In most regions, the average democracy score for 2011 is lower than in 2010, including the developed countries of North America and Western Europe, said the report.The report said Tunisia experienced the biggest increase of any country in its democracy score in 2011, adding that it moved from an authoritarian to a hybrid regime. It said two Sub-Saharan African countries of Mauritania and Niger also moved from authoritarian to hybrid regimes, and Zambia improved from a hybrid to a flawed democracy.The report said a noticeable decline in media freedoms in recent years, affecting all regions to some extent, has accelerated since 2008. "This has affected mainly electronic media, which is often under state control or heavy state influence ‑ although repression and infringements of the freedom of expression have also extended to the print media and, most recently, the Internet," said the report. The ranking shows the first 10 full democracies as Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Finland and the Netherlands. And according to the report, the last 10 authoritarian regimes are Syria, Iran, Central African Republic, Saudi Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Chad and North Korea The report said free and fair elections and civil liberties are necessary conditions for democracy, but they are unlikely to be sufficient for a full and consolidated democracy if unaccompanied by transparent and at least minimally efficient government, sufficient political participation and a supportive democratic political culture. However, the report said: "It is not easy to build a sturdy democracy. Even in long-established ones, democracy can corrode if not nurtured and protected." The report said 2011 was an exceptionally turbulent year politically, characterised by sovereign debt crises and weak political leadership in the developed world, dramatic change and conflict in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and rising social unrest throughout much of the world. It said 2011 featured important changes in democracy, both in the direction of unexpected democratisation and a continuation of decline in democracy in some parts of the world. The momentous events in the Arab world have been extraordinary in several respects, said the report, adding that the popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt a year ago were sudden and unexpected, occurring in seemingly infertile territory. "These revolts were home-grown affairs that overturned a host of stereotypes about the Mena region and caught the outside world unaware," said the report. It said other key developments in 2011 included the decline of popular confidence in political institutions in many countries and mounting social unrest that posed a threat to democracy in some countries. The report said US democracy had been adversely affected by a deepening of the polarisation of the political scene and political brinkmanship and paralysis. "The US and the UK remain at the bottom end of the full democracy category. There has been a rise in protest movements. Problems in the functioning of government are more prominent," said the report.