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A Democracy Profile of Tanzania - a background study: A Report presented to the EU-delegation in Tanzania
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (Freds och utvecklingsstudier)
University of Dar es Salaam. (Institute for Development Studies)
2015 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This report highlights the successes and the most serious challenges of democracy at this stage in Tanzania and the priorities needed to address them. The summary also outlines possible entry points through which political dialogue and technical cooperation initiatives could be feasible and have the greatest impact.

Tanzania is going through a period of rapid economic, political and cultural change. In a relatively short time, some 25 years, the country has moved from being a one-party state-led system to a market economy and multi-party system, all within the context of limited institutional capacity and resources. Electoral democracy is now fairly well established in principle, even if the independence of the Electoral Management Bodies is questioned. Democratic institutions have been strengthened, although the executive branch continues to dominate over the legislative and judiciary. Freedom of press, association and speech has improved. However, Tanzania cannot be regarded as a deep democracy. The conditions for an open and competitive political system, such as the full respect for political rights, competitive elections, independence of the institutions in charge of accountability promotion and protection of key democratic stakeholders, are not yet fully met. A more comprehensive, substantive democracy would better deliver on political, economic, social and cultural rights by increasing the accountability and participation around political decision-making.

However, compared with its neighbours in the sub-region and the whole of Africa, Tanzania does fairly well, as indicated by e.g., in Freedom House index.The main challenge is whether the current political system and power structure has the capacity to continue reforms, furthering the opening up of the political space; and leading to a stronger democratic culture and better economic and social development for the Tanzanian people, in a peaceful way.

The economy grows but reduction of poverty remains limited New economic activities develop, and so do an elite and a small middle class in urban, and some rural areas. Expectations are rising, not least among the youth. However, despite economic growth, basic needs poverty has only slightly been reduced from 34,4% to 28%, while the number of people below the poverty line has increased in absolute terms, as a result of continued high population growth. 44 per cent of the population live on less than 1.25 USD a day. Cleavages between the poor and the better off, and between urban and rural areas are deepening. The 2012/2013 household budget survey indicates that poverty has increased everywhere except in Dar es Salaam, and a few larger cities. Hence there is a trajectory of poverty decline but it is still very fragile. Even if the provision of health and education services has improved, - the relative quality of service delivery is arguably not improving or even deteriorating.

Changing values. An important heritage of Tanzania is Julius Nyerere’s legacy of nationalism and altruism. However these values have eroded over time, weakening the social fabric that has held the nation together since independence.Globalisation and an increasing number of young people completing their education cycle; rapid urbanisation (particularly among young adults); and the rapid expansion of TV, mobile telephones and internet access have brought about a change in values and expectations and have increased divides between generations and societies, men and woman urban and rural areas. These changing values have also raised awareness, not least of girls and women’s rights, which clash with the traditional patriarchal values. New networks and tools to voice concerns and hold those in power to account have started to develop. Old paternalistic power structures have started to be questioned, potentially opening up the political landscape.

New economic actors, especially BRIC countries, are changing the rules of the international game. With an increase in foreign direct investments, Tanzania is becoming less dependent on western aid, causing the majority of the ruling party, and the political administration to challenge traditional reliance on western donors and western perspectives. As a result, support for a western-type liberal democracy from some factions of the political and economic elite might shift towards new role models, such as the BRIC states.A diverse multi-party system has continued to develop since its inception in 1992.

Although opposition parties have made progress over the last 10 years, they are still weak and the former only party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), is still ruling. CCM has a well-developed organisation, characterised by a strong central authority. The party has robust personal networks, with close links to all levels of the administration, as well as to various economic elites and power centres outside the party, including the security forces. Even if gradually fading away, the one-party culture is still alive, especially at the local level in rural areas, where the majority of the population still lives. A remarkable change appears to have occurred between 2010 and 2014: In the 2014 Afro barometer survey, 75% of respondents from Tanzania gave support to multi-party democracy, which is among the highest in the Sub Saharan Africa.Until recently, no other party has proven strong enough to challenge CCM. Even though Tanzania now has 21 registered political parties, only five managed to get into Parliament in 2010. The majority election system contributes to preserving CCMs dominance. Only CUF and CHADEMA, and to a lesser extent NCCR-Mageuzi, have transformed into institutionalised political parties and, having received substantial support in the elections, command a degree of legitimacy. Nevertheless, the distribution of financial, human and organisational resources between CCM and the opposition parties remains skewed. Power struggles exist not only between the ruling party and the opposition, but also within each party between different factions and between the opposition parties. These divisions are rarely based on ideological or political differences, but rather on personalities and patronage. Nevertheless, changes have taken place both within the ruling party, through new generations of members whose political world view was formed in a multi-party context, and from outside the party where rapid urbanisation, globalisation and changes of values have provided a breeding ground for new political ideas. In the last five years CHADEMA has developed as a viable alternative to CCM and managed to capture the attention of the young, entrepreneurs and the educated urban middle class. The party won a substantive 27 percent of votes in the 2010 election, and a much higher share of votes in the cities. In the December 2014 local election the opposition preliminarily secured 34% of the seats. Four parties in the opposition have formed a loose coalition called Ukawa, with the aim to field one joint candidate in all constituencies and for the Presidency. For the first time, CCM is facing a real challenge in the 2015 election, even if it is unlikely that it would lose its power on the mainland. In any case, the low voter turnout on the mainland in the 2010 elections (39 percent compared with 73 percent 2005) and the civic polls in December 2014  might signal voter (or democracy) fatigue. Zanzibar maintained its traditionally high voter participation with 89 percent of voters exercising their right in the island of Unguja, and 85 percent in Pemba. Alliance for Change and Transparency (ACT) started by a breakaway faction from CHADEMA 2014 after a power struggle over ideology and leadership with one the periods most effective politicians, Zitto Kabwe, Public Account Committee chairman and a driving force in exposing corruption and misuse of power as one of the leaders, might contribute to a vitalisation of ideology based political debate as the party has declared itself as socialist, while the CHADEMA and CUF have taken on faith based conservative and liberal ideology, respectively.The integrity of the political parties and freedom of organisation and assembly are still limited by various outdated laws and institutions. The Police at times use excessive force with political activists and do not allow public demonstrations. As the multi-party system is not yet consolidated, issues surrounding intimidation and unfair competition are likely to persist for years. The opposition parties would not necessarily be more democratic or efficient than the current ruling party, but they have not yet been given the chance to prove themselves.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dar es Salaam, 2015. , 91 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Social Sciences, Political Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51883OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51883DiVA: diva2:916399
Note

Ej belagd 160419

Available from: 2016-04-01 Created: 2016-04-01 Last updated: 2016-04-19Bibliographically approved

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