Tanzania: Campaign process

Extracted from: Grant Masterson 2009 "Chapter 13: Tanzania and Zanzibar" IN Denis Kadima and Susan Booysen (eds) Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa 1989-2009: 20 Years of Multiparty Democracy, EISA, Johannesburg, 532-533.

The NEC is responsible for announcing the campaign period for the Union elections, whilst the ZEC is responsible for all campaigning pertaining to the Zanzibar presidential and parliamentary elections.

Political parties are required to submit their campaign programmes to the NEC prior to the commencement of the campaign period. The NEC is responsible for informing the Inspector General of Police, Regional Commissioners and the media regarding the various political party campaign programmes. Furthermore, the NEC informs the Regional Election Coordinators of the various campaign schedules, and these coordinators in turn attempt to meet with the various political parties and stakeholders in order to avoid as far as possible the coinciding of different political party events. The NEC also monitors the placement, content and design of all election-related materials displayed prior to an election.

During the 2005 campaign period, the NEC issued a statement highlighting the irregular practice Chadema used when displaying its presidential candidate's face in front of the Tanzanian flag, in contravention of the NEC's guidelines that stipulate that no national symbols should appear on campaign materials. However, although the posters were not certified by the NEC, they were for the most part allowed to remain on display, as the NEC did not have the manpower to police the issue themselves, and relied on the police forces to ensure that the materials displayed bore the certification of the NEC on the posters. Although there were reports and complaints about the defacement and removal of election posters in some districts, this was not a particularly widespread problem during the 2005 elections. This highlighted the general improvement in the behaviour of political parties and their supporters during the 2005 campaign period compared to previous instances in 1995 and 2000, when the types of complaints raised by political parties included (NEC 2001; NEC 1997):

  • unequal media coverage of the various political parties during the 1995 and 2000 campaign periods;
  • instances of mockery, insults, defamations and abusive statements by crowds during some political party campaign rallies in 2000;
  • inadequate security provided for opposition party presidential and vice-presidential candidates during the campaigning during the 2000 campaign period;
  • corrupt practices and bias/favouritism demonstrated by some election officials during the 1995 and 2000 campaign periods; and
  • other irregularities, including inappropriate campaigning by religious and traditional leaders, arbitrary cancellations of campaign rallies and meetings by local police, and inappropriate and incendiary language used during campaigning.

The initial campaign period announced by the NEC for the 2005 elections was from the 21 August 2005 - 29 October 2005. However, after the death of the Chadema vice-presidential candidate, the NEC suspended the campaign period for 21 days to allow Chadema the opportunity to nominate a new vice-presidential candidate, and subsequently announced a new campaign period from 19 November 2005 - 13 December 2005 in accordance with the Elections Act, 1985. In order to minimise costs for the elections, the parliamentary and local councillor elections for the Union elections were also postponed. The elections of the president, members of the House of Representatives and local authority in Zanzibar proceeded unhindered in the islands.


See Zanzibar: Campaign process.


NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 1997 The Report of the National Electoral Commission on the 1995 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections.

NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION 2001 The Report of the National Electoral Commission on the 2000 Presidential, Parliamentary and Councillors' Elections.