African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 384

Full Length Research Paper

Why is Tanzanian opposition weak twenty five years since its re-introduction?

Mangasini Atanasi Katundu
  • Mangasini Atanasi Katundu
  • Department of Community and Rural Development, Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU), Moshi, Tanzania.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 02 May 2018
  •  Accepted: 11 June 2018
  •  Published: 31 July 2018


This paper examines the performance of opposition parties and the prospects of multiparty politics in Tanzania. At independence in 1961 and during Colonial Rule, Tanganyika now Tanzania Mainland was enjoying a multiparty democracy but moved to one party state during 1970s. The Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) has won all elections since re-introduction of multiparty politics in 1992. The debate now is on the performance of Tanzania's opposition parties. Some scholars argue that many Tanzanians especially smallholders and rural inhabitants have strong loyalty to the ruling party CCM despite the economic difficulties they face. They further argue that, this strong loyalty to CCM is largely a result of lack of a strong alternative among the political parties, and nostalgia for the party which brought them independence and which has maintained relative peace. They also maintain that, it will simply take time for such nostalgia to fade and for a pro-rural challenge to the CCM to emerge; otherwise, age appears to have no significant effect on CCM support both Tanzanians old and young are loyal to the CCM. However, others claim that even if CCM is enjoying the power of the incumbency past elections results show that the margin of votes across constituencies for the CCM is in steady decline, thus challenging its dominance’. This paper is set to contribute to this live debate but taking the readers to a slightly different view point. In this paper, it is argued that, in spite of the claims made on the nature and quality of electoral institutions, and electoral system, opposition parties in the country have remained both numerically institutionally weak and fragmented. It is further argued that failure of the Tanzanian opposition parties is largely a product of internal weaknesses.


Key words: Tanzanian opposition, elections, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), political parties, politics.