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Tanzania Government


The semiautonomous relationship between Zanzibar and the union is a relatively unique system of government. The Articles of Union and Acts of Union of 1964 provided for two governments the union government, which also handled mainland issues, and the Zanzibar Government, which dealt with non union matters pertaining to Zanzibar. The Tanganyikan Constitution of 1962 was amended to accommodate the two government arrangement, which has remained in place ever since.

A new constitution, replacing the 1965 interim document, went into effect April 1977 and was substantially amended in October 1984 and in 1992. It has been amended eight times. The president, who is both chief of state and head of government, can be elected for no more than two five-year terms by universal adult suffrage. Before the constitutional amendments in 1992, the sole legal party Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) nominated the president. Two vice presidents, whom he appointed, assisted him one was the prime minister and the other was the president of Zanzibar. As of 1995, the president is assisted by a vice president, prime minister and cabinet. If the president of Tanzania is from Zanzibar, the vice president must be from the mainland and vice-versa.

As of 1995, the 274-seat unicameral national assembly consists of 232 members elected by universal adult suffrage for five-year terms, 36 or 15% of the seats reserved for women nominated by their parties (parties nominate the women members of parliament in proportion to the number of seats they control), and five members from the Zanzibar House of Representatives and the attorney general. Presidential and legislative elections are held concurrently, and in each legislative constituency. All candidates in competing in elections must belong to political parties. The prime minister, who is chosen from the assembly members, heads the assembly. If the president withholds his assent from a bill passed by the assembly, it does not become a law unless the assembly passes it again by a two-thirds majority. The president may dissolve the assembly and call for new presidential and legislative elections if he refuses to assent to a law passed by such a majority within 32 days of its passage.

The Revolutionary Council of Zanzibar, which held power on the islands since 1964, adopted a separate constitution in October 1979, which it replaced in January 1984. The new constitution provides for a popularly elected president and a 75-member Council of Representatives, 50 of whom are popularly elected and 25 appointed. The government of Zanzibar has exclusive jurisdiction over internal matters, including immigration, finances and economic policy. Since the 1990s, a trend toward greater autonomy for Zanzibar has been the basis of political tension with the mainland.

Tanzania has a five-level judiciary combining the jurisdictions of tribal, Islamic, and British common law. Appeal is from the primary courts through the district courts, resident magistrate courts, to the high courts, and Court of Appeals. Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice, except those for the Court of Appeals and the High Court who are appointed by the president. The Zanzibari court system parallels the legal system of the union, and all cases tried in Zanzibari courts, except for those involving constitutional issues and Islamic law, can be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the union. A commercial court was established in September 1999 as a division of the High Court.

Tanzania is divided into 26 administrative regions (mkoa), twenty-one on the mainland and five on Zanzibar (three on Unguja, two on Pemba).


Country name
conventional long form United Republic of Tanzania
conventional short form Tanzania
local long form Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania
local short form Tanzania
former United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar

Government type

name Dar es Salaam
geographic coordinates 6 48 S, 39 17 E
time difference UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note legislative offices have been transferred to Dodoma, which is planned as the new national capital; the National Assembly now meets there on a regular basis

Administrative divisions
26 regions; Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma, Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara, Mara, Mbeya, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North, Pemba South, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Shinyanga, Singida, Tabora, Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South, Zanzibar North, Zanzibar Urban/West

26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent 9 December 1961 (from UK-administered UN trusteeship); Zanzibar became independent 19 December 1963 (from UK); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed United Republic of Tanzania 29 October 1964

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