Tanzania was formed in 1964 as a union
between Tanganyika on the mainland and the Zanzibar
archipelago. A year later, the country became a
one-party state, with "socialism on African terms" as a
political direction. The idea was that this would lift
the economy, but instead the old agricultural community
was torn down and food production fell. During the
1990s, multi-party systems and market economy were
Independence camp leader Julius Nyerere, called the
teacher (in Swahili mwalimu), became the
independent prime minister of Tanganyika in 1961. The
following year, he was elected with almost total
electoral support for the country's first president.
Nyerees party Tanu (see Older history) dominated
completely on the mainland.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Tanzania. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
In Zanzibar, opposition to British colonial power was
divided into several groups. In the elections conducted
in July 1963, the African Afro-Shirazi Party gained a
majority in parliament, but the coalition government
formed was led by the Arab Zanzibar Nationalist Party.
Six months later, Zanzibar became an independent
In 1964, the African population of the islands
revolted against the Arabs. There was a bloody
settlement that ended with the Sultan's flight to
England. Zanzibar was declared a socialist republic with
Abeid Karume, leader of Afro-Shirazi, as head of state.
At the same time, Tanganyika was shaken by an army
revolt. President Nyerere requested military aid from
Britain, whose troops quickly quelled the uprising.
Tanzania becomes a one-party state
In April 1964, a union agreement was signed between
Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Karume became Vice President of
the new Union, which in October was named Tanzania.
Later, information emerged that the United States had
acted to neutralize the Cuba-supported socialist regime
in Zanzibar and bring the kingdom into a union with
Tanganyika. A US-backed British military intervention
was one of the possible options. After the uprising, the
United States feared that Zanzibar would become
A new constitution was adopted in 1965 and made
Tanzania formally a one-party state. In the same year,
Nyerere was re-elected president, which also happened in
1970, 1975 and 1980.
In 1967, Tanzania adopted the so-called Arusha
Declaration on Socialism and Self-Government - a
document that would have a major impact on the country's
development. Nyerere's goal was to create socialism on
African terms. In Africa, the family and the family are
at the center, and Nyerees thought was that the whole
society would function as a family, where everyone would
work for the best of the country. The development would
be brought forward through popular mobilization,
state-owned enterprises and agricultural collectives,
so-called ujamaa villages (ujamaa
means community). Self-confidence was one of the
The Arusha Declaration has long stood as a symbol of
an African form of socialism. During the first ten
years, the regime was able to show several progress.
People gained access to healthcare and education, and
illiteracy dropped rapidly. Tanzania's development model
was seen as an example. Many countries in the West, not
least Sweden, provided assistance to support the
Economic crisis and aid dependency
In 1977, Tanu and Afro-Shirazi merged into the
Revolutionary Party (CCM), which soon controlled all
political activity in the country through an
organization that reached down to the village and
The country's economy deteriorated during the 1970s,
not least because of severe drought. An intervention by
the Tanzanian military in Uganda at the end of the
decade was costly (see Foreign Policy and Defense). In
addition, when the world market price of coffee fell,
the economic crisis became acute.
Part of the problem was that the changes in society
were fast and drastic. People had moved up from their
ancestral fields to collectively break new ground. Small
farmers could not be forced into collective production
when they did not receive any financial incentive to
grow more than was needed in their own households.
Production was hampered by complicated rules, price
controls and bureaucracy. Corruption began to spread. At
the same time, an oppression of dissent was going on,
but it was not noticed by the outside world in the
shadow of even more arduous African dictatorships.
Instead of developing into an independent African
example in accordance with the Arusha Declaration,
Tanzania became a symbol of inefficient central
government and aid dependency. Donor countries demanded
market liberalization and other economic reforms. In the
1980 parliamentary elections, the Tanzanians showed
their dissatisfaction with the development when more
than half of the members, including several ministers,
were voted out.
Multi-party systems are introduced
In 1985, Nyerere was succeeded by his Vice President
Ali Hassan Mwinyi from Zanzibar, who was more benevolent
in the market economy. At the same time, criticism of
CCM's control over the state apparatus increased.
Demands for economic reform to be followed by political
change were growing. In 1990, the CCM launched a
campaign against corruption in the state, and the
government was redeveloped. The same year, the Tanzania
Democratic Forum, which called for multi-party systems,
was formed in London. However, in the 1990 presidential
election, Mwinyi was the only candidate, and in
Zanzibar, Salmin Amour was the only candidate.
In 1992, the National Assembly adopted a
constitutional amendment, which meant that multi-party
systems were introduced. In order to counteract a
fragmentation of the country, Parliament decided that
political parties must have support on both the mainland
and Zanzibar as well as be free from ethnic and
Nevertheless, tensions between Zanzibar and the
mainland intensified in 1993, since the archipelago
government itself prepared a membership in an
international Islamic organization. According to the
Constitution, Tanzania's foreign policy is a matter at
Union level. In addition, state and religion should be
separate. The crisis was averted, but relations between
both parts of the Union were damaged.
The first real multi-party took place in 1995, when
presidential and parliamentary elections were held
simultaneously. CCM won a four-fifths majority in the
National Assembly, while the United Citizens' Front
(CUF) became the largest opposition party. In the
presidential election, CCM candidate Benjamin Mkapa
triumphed, trying to fight widespread public sector
corruption. However, the fight was not carried far
In the 1995 Zanzibar election movement, many CUF
supporters had been subjected to violence by CCM
sympathizers, and the ruling party was suspected of
winning the election through cheating. In protest, CUF
boycotted the work in Parliament. CUF members were
arrested by police, tortured, charged with fabricated
crimes and imprisoned. Many lost their jobs and had
their homes destroyed, the children were expelled from
school and many fled to the mainland.
After pressure from donors and international
mediation, a settlement was eventually concluded between
CCM and CUF, but the promises made on strengthening
democracy and fair elections were not fulfilled.
Parallel to the rivalry between the mainland and
Zanzibar, the tension between the country's Christians
and Muslims increased. In 1998, three people were killed
in violent clashes at a mosque in Dar es Salaam. Some
ministers blamed unidentified Islamic states for
Bombing the US Embassy
In the same year, a powerful bomb exploded at the US
embassy in Dar es Salaam. Eleven people were killed and
some 70 were injured. A similar attack was carried out
against the US mission in Kenya's capital Nairobi. The
US blamed the death on Muslim terrorists with ties to
Saudi Usama bin Laden. An Egyptian and a Tanzanian were
prosecuted in Dar es Salaam and further suspects were
In October 1999, the independence leader and the
country's first president Julius Nyerere died. He turned
77 years old.
President Mkapa was re-elected in 2000 and in the
parliamentary elections that year CCM retained its large
majority. The opposition was weak and divided after
Tanzania's many years as a one-party state.
Unrest in Zanzibar
The election on Zanzibar 2000 had a bitter aftermath
when extensive election fraud was revealed. CUF demanded
re-election, but when the election was re-elected only
in a few places, CCM's Amani Abeid Karume took over as
president of the archipelago.
In early 2001, tens of thousands of opposition
supporters in Zanzibar demonstrated against the
electoral fraud and demanded new elections. The protests
became violent; over 30 people were killed and nearly
300 injured when police opened fire and used tear gas.
Thousands fled in boats to Kenya, many of them drowned.
The opposition and Amnesty International accused the
police of using excessive force, and donor countries
threatened to withdraw aid.
CCM and CUF agreed to review the electoral laws and
set up an independent investigation into the shooting
deaths. Talks about a future coalition government began,
but protests against CCM reached the mainland and Dar es
Salaam. A constitutional change in 2002 gave the
opposition more seats in the election commission. When
the investigation into the shooting deaths was completed
the same year, opposition leaders claimed that the death
toll was twice as high as the 31 people indicated in the
During Mkapa's last presidential term, there was
growing international criticism against the government's
lack of control over corruption and diamond smuggling.
Mkapa was also criticized for his support for President
Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe and for ordering an
expensive jet on behalf of the presidential office.
Violent election on Zanzibar
In October 2005, presidential and parliamentary
elections were held for Zanzibar's internal autonomy.
Because of the fear of new unrest, the elections were
overseen by a security offer of 30,000 men. The
opposition again claimed electoral fraud, African
observers approved the election but the US was critical.
Both government and opposition claimed that they had
won, but according to the election authority, President
Karume had been re-elected. In the parliamentary
elections, CCM took all seats on the main island, while
CUF took all seats on Pemba. The result was met by
mistrust and protests. Violence demanded several deaths.
The opposition decided to boycott the work of the
parliament of the kingdom.
Tanzania's national elections were held in December
of that year. According to the constitution, President
Mkapa was not allowed to stand for a third term. CCM's
candidate in the presidential election was Jakaya Mrisho
Kikwete, former Foreign Minister and Minister of
Finance. Kikwete won big, and in the national
parliamentary elections CCM received over two-thirds of
the votes. Election day was quiet, except at Zanzibar
where opposition supporters met with police.
Despite the opposition's accusations of electoral
fraud, Kikwete took office as new Union president. Seven
female ministers were taken into the government, where
Edward Ngoysi Lowassa became prime minister. Kikwete
promised to continue with the market liberal reforms and
the fight against corruption. However, critics
questioned his willingness to clean up CCM.
Kikwete was elected party leader for CCM in 2006 and
placed his closest allies on key positions. In 2007,
Parliament passed a new law designed to strengthen the
fight against corruption.
Concerns over Zanzibar were kept down by large police
and military presence, but the conflict between CCM and
CUF remained unresolved. CUF's accusations of electoral
fraud and power-sharing claims were rejected by the
local CCM leadership, and CUF's boycott of parliament
continued. In 2007, however, both parties initiated new
discussions at the national level with a view to finding
a lasting solution to the crisis.
Kikwete is re-elected…
Prime Minister Lowassa and two other ministers were
forced to resign in 2008 after a parliamentary inquiry
revealed that a US power company had been favored by
circles within the government in a public procurement.
The president dissolved the government and Mizengo Pinda
took over as new prime minister.
In Zanzibar, a political reconciliation gradually
took place under the leadership of President Karume. At
the end of 2009, the CUF canceled the boycott against
the island's parliament.
In a 2010 referendum, Zanzibar's residents approved a
draft constitutional amendment that meant that the two
largest parties after the election that year would form
a local coalition government and nominate their vice
In the 2010 elections to the European Parliament, the
opposition offered much stronger opposition than before.
CCM certainly won, but the Conservative Party for
Democracy and Progress (Chadema) went ahead strongly,
taking over CUF's position as the largest opposition
At the same time as the parliamentary elections,
Kikwete was re-elected as president. However, his voter
support dropped to just over 60 percent of the vote
compared to 80 percent five years earlier. Even turnout
declined significantly, to only 42 percent. As in
previous elections, allegations of electoral fraud came,
but according to the election authority, the
irregularities were not so serious that they could
affect the outcome.
... but weakened
In the parliamentary elections for internal
self-government in Zanzibar the same year, CCM won over
CUF. In the archipelago's presidential election, CCM
candidate Ali Mohamed Shein won by just a margin over
CUF's Seif Sharif Hamad: 50.1 percent of the vote
against 49.1 percent. Unlike previous violent electoral
movements, the election on Zanzibar this time became
CCM and CUF formed a coalition government for
self-government and each appointed its vice-president.
This compromise worked well, mainly because of the new
political appearance of the new President Shein.
The Zanzibar co-government also had an impact on
national politics, where CCM and CUF initiated
cooperation in the Union Parliament. With its background
on the Muslim Zanzibar, the CUF had previously found it
difficult to gain political influence on the mainland,
despite a growing Muslim urban population there.
The new national cooperation between CCM and CUF, in
turn, led to division within the opposition, where
Chadema and CUF had previously collaborated. Chadema
distanced himself from CUF and strengthened his profile
as a critic of the CCM government.
Kikwete's position weakened during his second
five-year period, when corruption charges forced a
series of government reforms. The president was also
weakened by a political battle that erupted in 2012 in
connection with a failed attempt to rework the