Politics in Tanzania

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Politics in Tanzania

Politics of Tanzania takes place in a framework of a unitary presidential democratic republic, whereby the President of Tanzania is both head of state and head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The party system is nominated by the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Revolutionary State Party) The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Full independence came in December 1961 and Julius Kambarage Nyerere (1922–1999), A socialist leader who led Tanganyika from colonial rule, was elected President in 1962. one of Africa’s most respected figures, Julius Nyerere was a politician of principle and intelligence. Known as Mwalimu (teacher), he had a vision of education that was rich with possibility.

From independence in 1961 until the mid-1980s, Tanzania was a one-party state, with a socialist model of economic development. Beginning in the mid-1980s, under the administration of President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, Tanzania undertook a number of political and economic reforms. On January and February 1992, the government decided to adopt multiparty democracy. Legal and constitutional changes led to the registration of 11 political parties. Two parliamentary by-elections (won by CCM) in early 1994 were the first-ever multiparty elections in Tanzanian history.

In October 2000, Tanzania held its second multi-party general elections. The ruling CCM party’s candidate, Benjamin W. Mkapa, defeated his three main rivals, winning the presidential election with 71% of the vote. In the parliamentary elections, CCM won 202 of the 232 elected seats. In the Zanzibar presidential election, Abeid Amani Karume, the son of former President beid Karume, defeated CUF candidate Seif Shariff Hamad. The election was marred by irregularities, and subsequent political violence claimed at least 23 lives in January 2001, mostly on Pemba island, where police used tear gas and bullets against demonstrators. Hundreds were injured, and state forces were reported to have attacked boats of refugees fleeing to Kenya. [1] Also, 16 CUF members were expelled from the Union Parliament after boycotting the legislature to protest the Zanzibar election results.

In October 2001, the CCM and the CUF parties signed a reconciliation agreement which called for electoral reforms and set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the deaths that occurred in January 2001 on Pemba. The agreement also led to President appointment of an additional CUF official to become a member of the Union Parliament. Changes to the Zanzibar constitution in April 2002 allowed both the CCM and CUF parties to nominate members to the Zanzibar Electoral Commission. In May 2003, the Zanzibar Electoral Commission conducted by-elections to fill vacant seats in the parliament, including those seats vacated by the CUF boycott. Observers considered these by-elections, the first major test of the reconciliation agreement, to be free, fair, and peaceful. President Mkapa, Vice President li Mohamed Shein, Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye, and National Assembly members will serve until the next general elections in 2005. Similarly, Zanzibar President Karume and members of the Zanzibar House of Representatives also will complete their terms of office in 2005.

Tanzania's president is elected by direct popular vote for 5-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly. The president selects his cabinet from among National Assembly members. The Constitution also empowers him to nominate 10 non-elected members of Parliament, who also are eligible to become cabinet members.

The unicameral National Assembly of Tanzania or Bunge has 324 seats — 236 elected by popular vote, 75 allocated to women chosen by their parties in proportion to their share of the electoral vote, 10 nominated by the president, and five members chosen by the Zanzibar House of Representatives — all members serving five-year terms. In addition to enacting laws that apply to the entire United Republic of Tanzania, the Assembly enacts laws that apply only to the mainland. Zanzibar has its own House of Representatives to make laws especially for Zanzibar (the Zanzibar House of Representatives has 50 seats, directly elected by universal suffrage to serve five-year terms).

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