Tanzania: Party funding and finances

Updated September 2020

Public, donor country and private funding

The Political Parties Act (1992, 13(1)(d)), as it was originally passed into law, made provision for the public funding of political parties. Until 1995 all registered parties were entitled public funding, but in 1996, with the passage of the Political Parties (Amendment) Act, 1996 (No. 11 of 1996) payments were restricted to political parties with representation in parliament (Lodge et al 2001, 167). In 2000 public funding of political parties ceased wholly on the grounds that the state could not afford it (EISA 2006, 21). Subsequent to the abolition of public funding, a system of funding political parties (as well as other civil society bodies) through a foreign donor basket was implemented, with funds coming from European countries and Canada (EISA 2005, 21).

The Election Expenses Act (2010, 11(1)) requires that all donations from individuals over one million shillings and donations from organisations over two million shillings be disclosed to the Registrar of Political Parties within 30 days of receipt. Moreover, in terms of the Political Parties Act (1992, 13(2)), parties are required to disclose all funds received from outside the United Republic whether received directly or channelled through sources within the United Republic, or from foreign organisations within the republic, or from non-citizen residents. Failure to do so is an offence which is punishable with a fine equal to the sum or value involved, while the furnishing of false information is punishable with up to a year's imprisonment or such a fine or both (Political Parties Act 1992, 13(3)). The Election Expenses Act (2010, 12(2)) broadened the term "funds" to include not just money, but vehicles and transportation, literature, communications equipment, refreshments, promotional art groups and other items used in electoral campaigns. It also prohibited political parties, NGOs, Faith Based Organisations and Community Based Organisations from bringing funds from abroad to further political parties or candidates except 90 days before a General Election and 30 days before a by election (Election Expenses Act, 12(1),(3)). Funds raised by NGOs, Faith or Community Based Organisations, whether from abroad or local, must remain within the limits prescribed in regulations issued by the Minister responsible for political parties and the amounts and sources must be disclosed to the Registrar; a violation of these provisions is an offense liable to a fine of five million shillings or up to three years imprisonment (Election Expenses Act, 13).

Parties obtain funds from membership subscriptions and voluntary donations, however, funding from private sources is inadequate and parties are unable to compete with the advantages of incumbency enjoyed by the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi which has access to state resources and is better able to secure funds from private sources (Olkaleye 2004, 87, 94).

Funding, election expenses and financial control

Parties are required to appoint a Board of Trustees to manage the properties, investments and businesses belonging to the party and must submit to the Registrar of Political Parties the names and address of the trustees and the certificate of their incorporation within 60 days of registration (Political Parties Act 1992, 21). The trustees of a party are required to establish a bank account into which all funds received by a party must be paid. Parties are required to maintain accounts of funds and property and submit them to the Registrar annual audited accounts and property declarations (Political Parties Act 1992, 14(1)). The Registrar may publish this information in the interests of the party members, but is not required to do so (Political Parties Act 1992, 14(2)). However, the Registrar is required to publish an annual report on each party's financial reports in the Gazette (Political Parties Act 1992, 14(3)).

The Election Expenses Act (2010, 2) regulates expenses by political parties and candidates in elections on the Mainland for national presidential, National Assembly and municipal elections and on Zanzibar for national presidential and National Assembly elections. The administration and enforcement of the Act is also placed in the hands of the Registrar of Political Parties (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 4). Election expenses within the ambit of the Act include those related to the nomination process, the nomination of candidates, election campaigning and all other expenses during an election including promotional art groups, food, drinks, accommodation and transportation (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 7). The Minister responsible for political parties is empowered to set a maximum limit on election expenditure, by an order published in the Gazette, and a party that exceeds this limit commits an offence and is liable to a fine of up to three million shillings (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 10, 26(a)).

Candidates are required to inform party structures seven days before nomination day of the funds in their possession, funds they anticipate receiving and how they intend spending them; in the case of presidential candidates the party Secretary general must be informed, while other candidates must inform District Secretaries (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 9(1). The District Secretaries and Secretaries General of the parties that participate in an election must in turn disclose funds and expenditures to the Registrar within 30 days after nomination day (Election Expenses Act, 9(2)-(4)). The information disclosed to the Registrar remains confidential unless a complaint is laid, an investigation by the Registrar launched or it is required in court proceedings (Election Expenses Act, 9(5)). Similarly, NGOs, Faith Based and Community Based Organisations are required to disclose all election related expenditure to the Registrar within 90 days of the election concerned (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 13(4)). The Act further lays out that a political party's Board of Trustees must notify each candidate of expenditures made within 30 days of election day and submit returns to the Registrar of the same within 90 days (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 17). Candidate must submit verified expenditure reports to their parties within 60 days of polling day and the parties must submit income and expenditure returns and an audit report iro their candidates to the Registrar within 180 days (Election Expenses Act, 2010, 18).


EISA 2005, EISA Election Observer Mission Report: Tanzania Presidential, National Assembly and Local Government Elections 14 December 2005 .

ELECTION EXPENSES ACT, 2010, Compendium of Electoral Laws and Regulations of Tanzania .

OLKALEYE, W 2004, "Political Parties - The State of Tanzania's Contemporary Political Landscape" IN Karume, S (ed), Dilemmas of Political Transition: Towards Institutionalisation of Multiparty Democracy in Tanzania [PDF document], EISA Research Report No 7.


SHAYO, R 2005, Parties and Political Development in Tanzania EISA Research Report No 24.