Tanzania: Constitution

Updated July 2020

CONSTITUTION Constitution came into force on April 25, 1977 and established one-party state. In 1992 amended to allow multi-party democracy[1].
HEAD OF STATE The President is Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces and presides over cabinet meetings. The tenure of office is five years. The President is eligible for re-election for one additional term. The President is directly elected by the voters by a plurality[2].
EXECUTIVE The Vice-President is elected on the same ticket as the President. The President appoints as the Prime Minister the MP who has the confidence of the National Assembly. Subject to certain conditions the Prime Minister is forced to resign if the National Assembly passes a vote of no confidence. The President is responsible for government policy, while the Prime Minister is responsible for day-to-day functioning of the government. The President of Zanzibar is ex officio a member of cabinet[3].
LEGISLATURE The legislature (Parliament) comprises of the President and the National Assembly (called the "Bunge"). Seat allocation: The bulk of the members are elected in first past the post constituency elections, while five are elected by the House of Representatives of Zanzibar. The Attorney General (appointed by President) is an ex officio member, and the President can nominate up to ten additional members. A further 30% of the total number is allocated to parties on a proportional basis specifically for the representation of women. Candidates must be nominated by parties, no independents are permitted[4].
JUDICIARY The High Court is headed by the Principle Judge and the members are appointed by the President in consultation with the Judicial Service Commission. The Chief Justice heads the judiciary and the Court of Appeal. These judges may only be removed from office by a Special Tribunal under clearly delimitated circumstances[5]. The Chief Justice is appointed by the President and the Judges of Appeal by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice[6]. Magistrates are appointed and promoted by the President, but disciplined and removed by the Judicial Service Commission[7]. An ad hoc Special Constitutional Court has power to resolve constitution disputes between the Zanzibari and Union governments. Half its members are appointed by each party[8].
UNION MATTERS A list of 22 items that are exclusive Union matters is the basis of the division of powers between the Union and Zanzibar. In general these are matters that are usually reserved to the central government of a federation such as defence, currency, foreign affairs etc[9].
AMENDMENT In general amendments require the votes of two-thirds of all the members of the National Assembly[10].
Amendments that affect the constitutional arrangements that constitute the Union with Zanzibar require a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly and the Zanzibari House of Representatives[11].
DEMOCRACY PROTECTION AGENCIES The Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance plays the dual role of an ombudsman and of a human rights commission, promoting awareness of human rights and investigating violations[12].
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is responsible for the conduct of national presidential, National Assembly and local government elections[13].
The Zanzibar Electoral Commission (ZEC) is responsible for the conduct of Zanzibar presidential and House of Representatives elections[14]

Table notes

[1] East African Centre for Constitutional Development Undated; Africa Studies Centre Undated.
[2] Constitution 1977, Articles 33, 38(1), 40, 41(6), 54; East African Centre for Constitutional Development Undated.
[3] Constitution 1977, Articles 51 - 54; National Electoral Commission 2000, 6.
[4] Constitution 1977, Articles 62, 66, 75, 78.
[5] Constitution 1977, Articles 108, 109,110(4).
[6] Constitution 1977, Articles 117-118.
[7] Constitution 1977, Articles 112-113(2).
[8] Constitution 1977, Articles 125-128.
[9] Constitution 1977, Article 4(2) and the First Schedule.
[10] Constitution 1977, Article 98(1)(a).
[11] Constitution 1977, Article 98(1)(b).
[12] Constitution 1977, Article Article 129(1), 130.
[13] Constitution 1977, Article 74(5),(13).
[14] Constitution 1977, Article 74(13); Constitution of Zanzibar 1984, Articles 119-120.


AFRICA STUDIES CENTRE UNDATED "Tanzania - Government" IN East Africa Living Encyclopaedia, http://www.africa.upenn.edu/NEH/tgovernment.htm (accessed 15 Jul 2020).

CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA 1977 (CAP 2) (amendments up to 2005)(accessed 7 July 2020).

CONSTITUTION OF ZANZIBAR 1984, came into effect on January 12, 1985.

EAST AFRICAN CENTRE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT UNDATED "Tanzania: Key historical and constitutional developments", [www] http://www.kituochakatiba.co.ug/tz%20const.htm (offline 15 Jul 2020).

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2000 A Handbook of Tanzanian Electoral Laws and Regulations 2000.