Tanzania: Conflict prevention and management

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, 534.

Prior to the commencement of the 2005 campaign period, the NEC and stakeholders from 16 of the 18 registered political parties formulated and signed a Code of Conduct [see Code of Ethic for Elections] governing the behaviour of the political parties during the election process. The NEC also consulted with the Union and Zanzibar governments on the Code of Conduct. According to the Code of Conduct, an election Code of Conduct Committee was formed, chaired by the NEC's vice-chairman, Justice ASL Ramadhani, which included members of all the signatory political parties, with the objective of monitoring the signatories' adherence to the Code.

In resolving disputes during the 2005 elections, various different strategies were used based on the optimal approach to the different circumstances. In some instances of chaotic or riotous scenes, such as witnessed in Bariadi District, Bukoba Urban, Musoma Urban, Tarime District, Karatu and Tanzania Zanzibar, the police forces were able to restore order and ensure a peaceful continuation of the campaigning. In such circumstances, the NEC and the committee took no further action. In other instances, such as those in which signatories to the Code of Conduct were found to have failed to adhere to it, the NEC admonished and in some cases publicly censured the party in question, requesting an explanation for the party's behaviour from its representative on the committee and the leadership of the party. In particular, some political parties did not adhere to their stated campaign programmes, causing some conflicting rallies to coincide The NEC and the committee demonstrated that they were prepared to amend the programme if informed, but some parties failed to do so, causing confusion in some areas.

Complaints about returning officers, local police officials and election staff were attended to by the NEC, which on occasion issued clarifying statements for the benefit of police officials regarding issues such as the required cut-off times for rallies (early in the campaign period, some parties complained that their rallies were prematurely terminated by police officials).

The most serious recurring problem during the campaign period, however, revolved around the unanticipated increase in campaign costs caused by the postponement of the polling date. For the majority of political parties, the increase in costs incurred by sustaining their campaigns for the additional campaign period proved untenable, and in most areas, campaigning declined in intensity until just before the revised polling date of 14 December 2005.


See Zanzibar: Conflict prevention and management.