Tanzania is a one party dominant state with the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party in power. From its formation until 1992, it was the only legally permitted party in the country. This changed on 1 July 1992, when the constitution was amended.
John Magufuli won the October 2015 presidential election and secured a two-thirds majority in parliament. The other party or main party in Tanzania is called Chadema.
The president of Tanzania and the members of the National Assembly are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for five-year terms. The vice-president is elected for a five-year term at the same time as the president and on the same ticket. Neither the president nor the vice-president may be a member of the National Assembly. The president appoints a prime minister, subject to confirmation by the assembly, to serve as the government’s leader in the assembly. The president selects his or her cabinet from assembly members.
All legislative power relating to mainland Tanzania and union matters is vested in the National Assembly, which is unicameral and has a maximum of 357 members. These include members elected to represent constituencies, the attorney general, five members elected by the Zanzibar house of representatives from among its own members, the special women’s seats that constitute at least 30% of the seats that any party has in the assembly, the speaker of the assembly (if not otherwise a member of the assembly), and the persons (not more than ten) appointed by the president. The Tanzania Electoral Commission demarcates the mainland into constituencies in the number determined by the commission with the consent of the president.
Tanzania has a four-level judiciary. The lowest level courts on the Tanzanian mainland are the Primary Courts. In Zanzibar, the lowest level courts are the Kadhi’s Courts for Islamic family matters and the Primary Courts for all other cases. On the mainland, appeal is to either the District Courts or the Resident Magistrates Courts. In Zanzibar, appeal is to the Kadhi’s Appeal Courts for Islamic family matters and the Magistrates Courts for all other cases. From there, appeal is to the High Court of Mainland Tanzania or Zanzibar.No appeal regarding Islamic family matters can be made from the High Court of Zanzibar. Otherwise, the final appeal is to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania.
The High Court of mainland Tanzania has three divisions – commercial, labour, and land – and 15 geographic zones. The High Court of Zanzibar has an industrial division, which hears only labour disputes.
Mainland and union judges are appointed by the Chief Justice of Tanzania, except for those of the Court of Appeal and the High Court, who are appointed by the president of Tanzania.
Tanzania is a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Throughout Tanzania, sex acts between men are illegal and carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. According to a 2007 Pew Research Center survey, 95 percent of Tanzanians believed that homosexuality should not be accepted by society.
People with albinism living in Tanzania are often attacked, killed or mutilated because of superstitions related to the black-magical practice known as muti that say body parts of albinos have magical properties.
Tanzania has the highest occurrence of this human rights violation among 27 African countries where multi known to be practiced.
In 1972, local government on the mainland was abolished and replaced with direct rule from the central government. Local government, however, was reintroduced in the beginning of the 1980s, when the rural councils and rural authorities were re-established. Local government elections took place in 1983, and functioning councils started in 1984.
In 1999, a Local Government Reform Programme was enacted by the National Assembly, setting “a comprehensive and ambitious agenda … covering four areas: political decentralization, financial decentralization, administrative decentralization and changed central-local relations, with the mainland government having over-riding powers within the framework of the Constitution.”
As of 2016, Tanzania is divided into thirty-one regions, twenty-six on the mainland and five in Zanzibar (three on Unguja, two on Pemba). In 2012, the thirty former regions were divided into 169 districts (wilaya), also known as local government authorities. Of those districts, 34 were urban units, which were further classified as three city councils (Arusha, Mbeya, and Mwanza), nineteen municipal councils, and twelve town councils.
The urban units have an autonomous city, municipal, or town council and are subdivided into wards and mtaa. The non-urban units have an autonomous district council but are subdivided into village councils or township authorities (first level) and then into vitongoji.
The city of Dar es Salaam is unique because it has a city council whose areal jurisdiction overlaps three municipal councils. The mayor of the city council is elected by that council. The twenty-member city council is composed of eleven persons elected by the municipal councils, seven members of the National Assembly, and “Nominated members of parliament under ‘Special Seats’ for women”. Each municipal council also has a mayor. “The City Council performs a coordinating role and attends to issues cutting across the three municipalities”, including security and emergency services.
Foreign relations of Tanzania
Relations between Tanzania and Malawi have been tense because of a dispute over the countries’ Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) border. An unsuccessful mediation regarding this issue took place in March 2014. The two countries agreed in 2013 to ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to resolve the dispute should mediation be unsuccessful. Malawi, but not Tanzania, has accepted the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ.
Relations between Tanzania and Rwanda deteriorated in 2013 when Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said that if the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) could negotiate with some of its enemies, Rwanda should be able to do the same. Rwandan President Paul Kagame then expressed “contempt” for Kikwete’s statement.
The tension was renewed in May 2014 when, in a speech to the Tanzanian National Assembly, Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe renewed his claim that Rwandans were causing instability in the DRC. Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo responded, “As for Tanzania’s foreign minister whose anti-Rwanda rant in parliament I heard, he would benefit from a lesson in the history of the region.”
Tanzania–China relations have strengthened in recent years as trade between the two countries and Chinese investments in Tanzanian infrastructure have increased rapidly.
Relations with the United States are warm, with President Barack Obama visiting Tanzania in 2013.
Tanzania’s relations with other donor countries, including Japan and members of the European Union, are generally good, though donors are concerned about Tanzania’s commitment to reducing government corruption.
Tanzania is a member of the East African Community (EAC), along with Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi. According to the East African Common Market Protocol of 2010, the free trade and free movement of people is guaranteed, including the right to reside in another member country for purposes of employment.
Tanzania is also a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The EAC, the SADC, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa agreed in June 2011 to negotiate the creation of a Tripartite Free Trade Area spanning 26 African countries, with a goal to complete the first phase of negotiations within 36 months.
As of 31 October 2014, Tanzania was contributing 2,253 soldiers and other personnel to various United Nations peacekeeping operations. The Tanzanian military is participating along with South African and Malawian militarizes in the United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (MONUSCO) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The United Nations Security Council authorized the force on 28 March 2013 to conduct targeted offensive operations to neutralize groups that threaten peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tanzania was also participating in peacekeeping missions in the Darfur Region of Sudan (UNAMID); Abyei, control of which is contested between South Sudan and Sudan (UNISFA); the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); Lebanon (UNIFIL); and South Sudan (UNMISS).