The Political Economy of Democracy in Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world and, as is the case with other poor countries, there have been, for the past 20 years, internal and external efforts to try to free the country from the woes of poverty. There are many theories about what went wrong in Tanzania. These range from colonial domination – and its attendant problems of dependency and underdevelopment – to those which target capitalism and its ‘predatory’ nature, leading, among other things, to unequal exchange on the world market, world division of labour, and so on (Ellis 1983; Dutkiewicz & Williams 1987) as well as the ubiquitous globalisation which currently affects many aspects of life. However, not everyone believes that these theories provide a plausible explanation for what happened and why. Some see the problem as structural and also cite the inappropriate policies pursued by many poor countries, which were candidly acknowledged by the Organisation of African Unity (1986, p 17). Others (eg, Babu 1991, pp 31-4, Shivji 1974, pp 85-90) blame the way the policy was implemented. We will examine the causes of the predicament more closely and demonstrate how things are changing.

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Categories: Journal of African Elections