Tanzania’s Missing Opposition

Issue Date October 2009
Volume 20
Issue 4
Page Numbers 123-136
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Why do opposition parties in Tanzania remain chronically weak a decade and a half after the country’s democratic transition? Part of the absence of a vigorous political opposition is the result of little demand for it and its uninspiring leadership. This argument views the ruling CCM as a relatively benign hegemon acceptable to the vast majority of Tanzanians. Although this argument is based on a significant amount of truth, the main reason opposition parties remain weak is because the CCM suppresses those who contest its near-monopoly of power, including resorting to coercion when other methods of containing the opposition fail.