n Journal of African Elections - Prelude to Tanzania's 2010 general elections : reflections and inflections

Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



Managing elections in transitional countries, of which Tanzania is one, is not an easy task. Poorly managed elections are sources of tension and conflicts. This article takes stock of the preparations for the 2010 general elections in Tanzania, drawing lessons from other elections held since the country reverted to competitive multi-party elections. Although the electoral machinery has been reviewed and adjusted to make it more efficacious there are a number of unresolved problems that may dent the forthcoming elections. These include the limitations of the first-past-the-post electoral system; the prohibition of independent candidature; the disallowing of voting in the diaspora; ambiguities in the registration requirements, especially in Zanzibar; ineffective voter education interventions; and the undesirable role of the shehas (Zanzibar) and district and regional commissioners in electoral processes. The newly enacted legislation aimed at controlling the use of money and deterring corruption in Union elections is a good measure for ensuring fair play. However, the enforcement strategies and mechanisms are still weak. Enactment of the law is one thing, but its effective enforcement is another issue. This article examines the efficacy of political parties on the road to the 2010 elections and, in light of empirical and anecdotal data, reveals systemic and endemic weaknesses in opposition parties that pave the way for landslide victories for the ruling party and its president.

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