Tanzania Political System

Political system

Short for TZ by Abbreviationfinder, Tanzania is a republic and a union between a mainland part of Africa’s east coast and the Zanzibar archipelago, which has internal autonomy. The Dodoma Union Parliament on the mainland enacts laws for the entire Union and for the mainland. Since 1992, Tanzania has multi-party systems, but the ruling Revolutionary Party (CCM) largely dominates politics.

The legislative power is held by the European Parliament (the National Assembly) which has a chamber. In addition to enacting laws specifically for the mainland, the National Assembly also enacts laws on defense, foreign policy and foreign trade for the entire Union. There are both directly elected members and representatives appointed by the Union Parliament, including the country’s president or Zanzibar’s local parliament. The number of seats in the Union Parliament may vary, but the elected members must always constitute a majority. A certain proportion of the mandate should be reserved for women.

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Tanzania for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

Elections to the National Assembly are held at the same time as the presidential election (see below). The term of office of the members is five years. Since the 2015 elections, the National Assembly has 366 members, 265 of whom are directly elected and others elected by, for example, the President or Zanzibar’s parliament, or are seats reserved for women.

Zanzibar’s internal autonomy is guaranteed by the archipelago’s own constitution from 1985. The archipelago has its own government and parliament (the House of Representatives) with the right to decide on local issues. The House of Representatives has 50 elected members and 26 members nominated by, among others, women’s organizations. Elections to the House of Representatives are held every five years, at the same time as the national presidential and parliamentary elections. A constitutional change from 2010 stipulates that power should be shared between the two largest parties on the islands (see below); they are to form coalition governments with each vice president.

The executive power in the Union lies with the president, who can hold office for a maximum of two five-year terms. The president is head of state and government as well as commander-in-chief and appoints the national government among the members of the national assembly. Any law passed by the National Assembly must be approved by the President before it can take effect. The president can stop a bill through veto power, but Parliament can repeal the presidential vote by a two-thirds majority. Parliament can also put the president before the national court. The presidential post usually alternates between a Christian and a Muslim politician.

Political parties

Tanzania was a one-party state for nearly three decades until 1992 when multi-party systems were introduced. As a result, younger and smaller parties than today are having difficulty asserting themselves.

The Revolutionary Party (Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM) was formed in 1977 through a merger between the mainland’s only party, Tanu, and the only party in Zanzibar, Afro-Shirazi. CCM was for a long time the country’s only allowed party and controlled all political activity. It was initially a socialist party but nowadays a market oriented policy.

Even after 1992, CCM has almost totally dominated politics, including through an effective organization at local and regional level. CCM has an authoritarian character and can be described as a power apparatus rather than a party. Several strong interest organizations are affiliated with CCM, which also dominates at workplaces as well as within the police force and the armed forces. Many senior officers and officials identify with CCM.

Within the CCM, many factional battles have been fought, including between reformers and traditionalists. CCM has been involved in a series of corruption scandals, which contributed to increased support for the opposition in the 2010s.

The trend towards greater political diversity has been slow. The opposition is fragmented and weak. The Conservative Party for Democracy and Progress (Chama cha Democracia na Maendeleo, Chadema) is the largest opposition party and has made the fight against corruption a key issue. United Citizens’ Front (Chama Cha Wananchi, CCW, or Civic United Front, CUF) was founded in 1992 in Zanzibar. It may be partially described as liberal, but the image of the CUF as a Muslim party from Zanzibar has limited its success on the mainland.

Prior to the 2015 elections, Chadema, CUF and the small parties National League for Democracy (National League for Democracy, NLD) and the National Convention for Construction and Reform (Mageuzi, NCCR-Mageuzi) managed to come together in an electoral union, called the Alliance for the Defense of the Constitution (Umoja wa katiba ya wananchi, Ukawa). Ukawa was unable to challenge CCM on government power but still had success in the elections (see Current policy).

All political parties must have offices registered both on Zanzibar and on the mainland. It has limited the opposition’s opportunities to grow strong. It is not allowed to stand for election as an independent candidate.

Uamsho is an Islamist movement that demands full independence for Zanzibar. Uamsho wants to make Zanzibar an Islamic state where Muslim Sharia law should apply. The movement has carried out a series of demonstrations that degenerated in rattlesnakes in the city of Zanzibar. Uamsho is suspected to be behind a series of acid attacks, homicides, explosions and more.

Tanzania Urban Population



Tanzania receives debt relief

The African Development Bank (ADB) writes off just over $ 640 million from Tanzania’s debt to the bank on the grounds that the country’s economic development is impressive and that government finances have improved.


China is exchanging energy for aid

China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao visits Tanzania among several other African countries. The purpose is to secure energy requirements in the home country through agreements. In exchange for this, China promises assistance to Tanzania in healthcare and communications.

Kikwete becomes CCM chairman

President Kikwete takes over as chairman of the CCM government party.