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Is civic space in Tanzania shrinking?

Tanzania is a politically stable country often referred to as an island of peace in the region. It has enjoyed this stability since independence. The country has gone through major changes mainly from socialism to liberalism when it was taken along with the third wave of democratization in the early 1990s. Consequently, the country reformed its political system from a single party to a multi-party system, as well as adopting policies that widened and expanded registration of civil society groups and forms of associations. Such reforms simultaneously happened in other countries in East African region: for example the multi-party system was adopted in Kenya and Uganda as well. Despite such reforms, various international and national reports have suggested for years that overall civic space in Tanzania is constrained (international reports include for example CIVICUS, Freedom House; national reports include for example LHRC, REPOA)

The most recent Tanzanian elections in October 2015, were widely believed to be most competitive since introduction of multi-party democracy, as a unified opposition presented a realistic challenge to the ruling party. The original party of independence (CCM) has retained power in these last elections, and at the same time, there were legal and parliamentary processes occurring during the election year which have prompted critique from national and international actors interested in protecting civic space (notably the passing of the bill on Cybercrimes). Given this context, we have examined the status of civic space in Tanzania along several dimensions, focusing mostly on the period 2010-2015.

The core of this analysis rests on the triangulation of  various sources (international and national) on the current status of each of the five dimensions of civic space in Tanzania, as protected by the law and as executed in practice. The table below summarizes the main findings.

Read the full report.

Read more: civic space open government Tanzania

Authors: Aikande Kwayu Varja Lipovsek

Editors: Risha Chande

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Organizations: Twaweza East Africa

Pages: 32

Type: Key document

Year: 2016

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