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Departures from Post-Colonial Authoritarianism

Analysis of System Change with a Focus on Tanzania


Elke Grawert

This study sends the reader on an exciting journey into social and political life in Africa. It gives space to the voices of Tanzanian villagers, rural associations, branches of political parties and local government officers and their views of socio-economic and political change during the 1990s. This authentic picture is combined with a thorough sociological and political economy analysis showing the dynamics in the relations between state components and social forces in the context of neo-liberal globalization. The book is not only attractive as a country case study. It contains a deep analysis of the paradigmatic shift of African political systems from post-colonial rule to governance in response to neo-liberalism and provides new insights in processes of political transformation.


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6 Departure from Authoritarian Rule: The Tanzanian Way 245


245 6 Departure from Authoritarian Rule: The Tanzanian Way Political transformation began in Tanzania when society and economy had already undergone deep changes in the course of economic transformation. It was propelled by enhanced social conflict and discontent, political intervention by the former president, Nyerere, and subsequent moves within the ruling party, as well as by political conditionalities of donor countries. Societal demands and conflicts touched the legal framework regarding land rights, safety of property and civil rights. Mounting social tension urged the ruling elite to address socio-economic issues politically in order to avoid social unrest and anarchy. However, political reform was very much guided by the intention of keeping the process under close governmental control. The governing elite tried to avoid any risks that might affect their control over and access to the relevant power resources. They particularly feared those dangers that an upsurge of protest movements against structural adjustment would entail, as had happened in many other African countries. Accordingly, the elite in power tried to stabilize rule by incorporating new political actors into the political system, who were becoming relevant in the process of transformation (Töpper 1990: 144-145). In this process, the liberal factions in the government as well as in the ruling party, that were in favour of more political pluralism and openness, gained in power and consolidated supremacy over the conservative factions. In Parliament 55 liberal CCM members formed a quasi-opposition against the majority of the party (Sundet 1997: 61-64; Hofmeister 1995: 35). The...

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