Tanzania is well renowned for peace and stability in an otherwise troubled region. The transition from a single-party to a multiparty system has likewise been peaceful since the first multiparty election took place in 1995. The country is de facto a single-party system dominated by Chama Cha Mapinduzi. A more competitive election in 2010 and the upcoming review of the constitution may, however, be indicative of changing times for politics in Tanzania. DIPD seeks to support democracy in Tanzania through a partnership with the multiparty platform, Tanzania Centre for Democracy, and a party-to-party partnership between the Danish Social-Liberal Party and the Civic United Front.
Unlike many of its African peers, Tanzania has largely managed to escape conflict and instability. The introduction of a multiparty system in 1992 after 27 years of constitutionally single party rule has likewise proceeded peacefully. In spite of being home to more than 20 political parties, ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has won all elections since 1995 – a tendency amplified by the winner-takes-all electoral system.
Time may, however, be changing. The 2010 Presidential and Parliamentary elections are widely considered the most legitimate and competitive in Tanzania’s history. While CCM claimed victory, the main rivals Chama Cha Demokrasia na Maendeleo (CHADEMA) and Civic United Front (CUF) managed to pose a somewhat credible opposition.
The opposition is particularly strong in the semi-autonomous island of Zanzibar. CCM has won all election, yet with small margins to main rival, CUF. Relations between the two parties have historically been strained, but somewhat stabilized by constitutional amendments to the Zanzibar constitution in 2010, which provided for formation of a government of National Unity between CCM and CUF.
The constitution has often been cited as a key constraint in developing a level playing field for political competition. Therefore, political parties founded after liberalisation in 1992, civil society and academics have consistently called for reforms of the constitutional and legal framework as a necessary condition to entrench democracy. The call was answered in 2011, when the Constitution Review Act was passed by parliament and accented by the president. The process commenced with the formation of the Constitutional Review Commission in 2012.
The constitutional review and increased dialogue between political parties in the country present a critical juncture for democracy in Tanzania and may lead to a strengthening of the multiparty system as the country moves towards the 2015 elections.
DIPD in Tanzania
The Danish Social-Liberal Party (Radikale Venstre) has as of August 2012 partnered with the Tanzanian political party, the Civic United Front (CUF). CUF was founded in 1992 after the alteration of the Tanzanian constitution to allow for a multiparty system, and has since established itself as one of the largest parties in Tanzania, and a key opposition force to ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). The collaboration seeks to strengthen the capacity of CUF with a particular focus on improving policy development and organisation at local level.
The Danish Conservative People’s Party (Det Konservative Folkeparti) has of March 2013 entered into a new partnership with one of the key opposition parties in Tanzania: Chama Cha Demokrasia Na Maendeleo (CHADEMA). The project seeks to enhance Youth and Women participation in the national politics through a strengthening of the women and youth wing of CHADEMA. The project runs from March to December 2013.
DIPD has as of March 2012 entered into a cooperation with Tanzania Centre for Democracy (TCD). TCD is a political parties organisation established in 2005 to strengthen dialogue amongst the political parties in Tanzania. The DIPD-TCD project seeks to support multiparty democracy in Tanzania through a strengthening of the multiparty dialogue processes, the ability of political parties to perform their democratic functions, and finally by an enhanced engagement between the political parties and civil society. The project was approved by the DIPD Board in March 2012 and will run until December 2013.
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