Breakfast Briefing - Tanzania's Elections: change will come

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Date: Thursday, 8 October 2015

Time: 08:00 - 09:30

Change has become the rallying call for opposition parties in Africa: change from incumbents’ corrupt ways, change from systems which benefit the elite but not the poor, or change from undemocratic governance. Since independence in 1961, Tanzania has never had a change in ruling party. But the Party of the Revolution (CCM) now faces a big challenge. Both of the leading candidates in the 25 October election have campaigned on a message of change. One of them, John Magufuli, is the ruling CCM’s candidate, who is presenting himself as a break with the past. But the other, Edward Lowassa, defected from CCM just a few months ago, and he is now the candidate for the opposition UKAWA coalition. Tanzania has a long history of peace and stability, but the October elections could be the most competitive in the country’s history and there are fears of violence. Any new government will come in at a time of tension and expectations. There are hopes of huge revenues from recent gas discoveries, questions over Zanzibar’s status, an Islamist militant presence, and calls from the population to end the corruptions scandals which have implicated CCM ministers. This Breakfast Briefing will analyse:

  • The challenges facing Tanzania and issues at play in the elections
  • The two leading election candidates
  • Predictions of the outcome of the polls
  • How CCM may react to a defeat, or what its victory would mean

Stefano Ghirardi is Menas Associates’ Regional Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa. Stefano lived in Tanzania for over 12 years, both in Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. He has an MA in African Studies from SOAS where he focused on the politics of the country and studied Swahili. He wrote his dissertation on the role that religious identity plays in Tanzanian national politics. He has been helped in his research by Peter Bofin, who is the author of Menas’ East Africa Politics & Security report and who lives in Tanzania.