During President John Magufuli’s time in office (2015 to 2021), however, democracy and human rights in Tanzania underwent a marked deterioration. Government action became increasingly arbitrary, personal and political liberties were restricted by repressive laws. Since the undemocratic elections in 2020, representation of the opposition in parliament has been weak, with opposition politicians going into exile.
Following the sudden death of President Magufuli in March 2021, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was appointed as Tanzania’s new head of state. Since then, the political climate has improved. The President is following an approach of more openness, dialogue and international cooperation. She has eased restrictions on the media and social networks, and has had journalists, opposition politicians and human rights activists released from prison. A ban on opposition party assemblies was lifted. The President announced constitutional reforms that are to strengthen democracy. However, there are still laws in force that curb freedom of opinion, freedom of the press and the rights of the opposition.
In the semi-autonomous territory of Zanzibar, President Hussein Ali Mwinyi is pursuing a policy of balance and conciliation. However, the political and economic situation on the island group remains tense.
Industrialisation and social services, anti-corruption
In order to boost the country’s development, the Government of Tanzania is putting an emphasis on improving public services (infrastructure, health, education, water supply), and on creating jobs through increased industrialisation. Like her predecessor in office, President Hassan also wants to increase domestic public revenue and fight corruption. Progress has been made as regards increasing domestic revenue. Yet the country’s tax ratio is a mere 12.8 per cent of gross domestic product.
On the 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index published by Transparency International, Tanzania ranks 94th out of the total of 180 countries rated (2017: 103rd out of 180).
As at: 30/03/2023