Yes, I know. I need to take more pictures. But the internet is very slow today… so all you get is this one photo and some history about Tanzania (I can feel your disappointment from here).

Palm Trees on Toure Drive

However, this next part is interesting… and I hope a few of you think so too. Now that we all have the basics, below is a historical timeline that will get you up to date on what is now happening in Tanzania. Later this week I will post on more concrete things… don’t worry.

A (Very) Brief Political History (1961-2009):

  • Most likely the first person you will hear about when you begin learning about Tanzania politics (or even African politics) is a man named Julius Nyerere (known simply as Mwalimu (teacher in Swahili)). A notable pan-Africanist, he led Tanganyika* to independence in 1961 from British rule, and became the first president of Tanzania. He governed a one party state using socialist policies, which today are both revered and resented**.
  • In 1985, Nyerere stepped down and was replaced by the President of Zanzibar, Ali Mwinyi. Social economic policies continued to dominate into the mid-1980s.
  • By 1992, Tanzania ushered in their first multiparty elections where 11 political parties were registered. Due to its relatively stable political environment, it has had four democratic elections since 1992.
  • Julius Nyerere’s party, the Tanganika African Nationalist Union (TANU), combined with dominate party Afro-Shirazi Party (ASP), the then ruling party in Zanzibar. Together, they created a political party called Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) (Party of the Revolution in Swahili). CCM won the first multiparty election in by 1994, and (SPOILER ALERT) have won landslide victories in every election since, making it the ruling party of Tanzania for nearly 50 years.
  • In 2000, in the countries 3rd multi-party election, CCM won with 71% of the vote. However, in Zanzibar, the presidential election was highly contested (due to irregularities) when the CCM candidate defeated the CUF (the Civil United Front, the main opposition party) candidate. Violence followed, killing at least 23 people and left hundreds injured when police clashed with demonstrators. Because of the Zanzibar election, 16 CUF members were then expelled from parliament after boycotting legislature.
  • In 2001, the CCM and CUF reconsolidated and made an agreement on electoral reforms, and an inquiry was made to investigate the deaths during the election.
  • In 2002, changes to the Zanzibar Constitution made it so that both the CCM and CUF parties could nominate members to the Zanzibar Electoral Commission (more on this in my post about Tanzania’s parliament).
  • In 2005, elections were held again… I bet you can guess who won. Foreign Minister of the CCM, Jakaya Kikwete becomes President (and who is continues to be the President).
  • In 2008, Kikwete dissolves his cabinet following a corruption scandal where the premier and two ministers to resign.
  • In 2009, CUF ends its boycott of the island’s parliamentary seats before the upcoming 2010 elections and recognize the CCM candiate as the legitimate President of Zanzibar. This is important, because it signals that – inshallah — elections will happen peacefully.

*Tanganyika was the former colonial name of Tanzania. When the islands of Zanzibar joined The Republic of Tanganyika to form a single country in 1964, the name was changed to reflect both names. Tanganyika + Zanzibar = Tanzania.

Why wasn’t Zanzibar apart of the republic before you ask? Well, (Cliff notes version) Zanzibar was its own independent state until the Sultanate was overthrown by the Afro-Shirazi Party in a violent, left-wing revolution.

Don’t understand the Sultanate part? Well, (cliff notes history) unlike most of the mainland of Tanzania which was a colony of Germany and then the British, the Sultanate of Oman seized control of Zanzibar (due to its coastal location for trading goods/slaves and the abundance of valuable spices) from the Portuguese in 1698. They named a Sultan of Zanzibar (Zanj), who controlled a significant portion of the East African coast, including Mombasa, Dar es Salaam, etc. If you ever come here, you will notice right away that these coastal towns are full of Middle Eastern architecture and culture. Remember the map on my last post?

Under the pretext of ending the slave trade, the British seized control of Zanzibar by the early 19th Century. After a succession of leaders that were backed by the British, their favourite pro-British Sultan Hamad bin Thuwaini died, leading the way for Khalid bin Barghash. Let’s just say… this did not go over well. Two days later, the British declared the Anglo-Zanzibar war and destroyed the Beir al Hukum Palace. A cease fire was called 38 minutes later, and according to Wikipedia, this was the shortest war in history. (Note: that last part isn’t so relevant to the topic, but more super interesting.) The British took control until independence in 1961 and when the last Sultanate was overthrown in 1963, Zanzibar joined the republic as a semi-autonomous state. As a semi-autonomous state, it has its own government known as the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. Zanzibar also has seats in parliament (Remember my last post breaking down parliament?).

As you can see by this horribly over simplified history, Zanzibar’s politics/culture/history varies greatly to Tanzania, and shows a small glimpse into why there has been friction between the two in later years.

** I would not dare try and lay out here the debates about the legacy of Julius Nyerere. But I think that is something worth knowing for those willing to look into it. Julius Nyerere’s history is one that reflects a part of the Pan-Africanism movement, and the subsequent history of African independence. As you will see later, it also provides an interesting window into socialism in Africa and the appeal of modern Chinese relations, which is largely seen as a substitute for Western led development.

In short, here is a glimpse at Julius Nyerere’s:
Views on Education (In his own words)
Villagization Project (Ujamaa) (This is only one view of this but it gives an interesting overview)
Relationship with China (something I will post more on in terms of modern Chinese relations)

If you have made it this far, bravo! I don’t expect many of you to, but it is a fairly short summary given that it is a pretty politically stable country. If this bores you to death, don’t worry, I will post some more pictures soon.