Tanzania Modern History

By | January 30, 2023

Tanzania is a country located in Eastern Africa. With the capital city of DDodoma, Tanzania has a population of 59,734,229 based on a recent census from COUNTRYAAH. 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 introduced.

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.

  • ABBREVIATIONFINDER: 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 sultanate. Check best-medical-schools for more information about Tanzania.

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 “Africa’s Cuba”.

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 keywords.

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 development.

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 neighborhood levels.

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 religious ties.

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 enough.

Religious contradictions

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 provoking riots.

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 wanted.

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 report.

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 president.

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 party.

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 calm.

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 Constitution.

Tanzania Modern History