The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) has been active in Tanzania since 1968. Since then, it has been cooperating with state institutions, civil society organisations, labour unions and the media. As a result of continuous, value-based cooperation with the governing party, CCM, the FES is able to carry on a critical dialogue on current deficits of the political system while drawing attention to the Social Democratic model of society.
The dominance of the governing party CCM and the weakness of the opposition and societal actors have brought forward a rigid dominant party system. The formal multi-party system obviously lacks innovative power. The political arena is not able to keep up sufficiently in political and economic terms with the East African Community (EAC) and initiate a strategic debate over an economic policy for the future. The desires of the population for democratic participation, more transparent governance and a more socially just distribution of state revenue continue to be frustrated.
Given these incipient social conflicts, FES concentrates on issues involving social justice. At the same time, the politically motivated conflict over the union between the mainland and Zanzibar also plays a role. There have been regular conflicts between the regional opposition party on Zanzibar, CUF, and the governing Tanzanian party, CCM, since the second democratic elections in 2000. Attempts to transform the incomplete and hence highly conflictual union into a balanced federation have thus far been thwarted due to the opposition of CCM.
In the view of the Foundation, the process of constitutional reform which began in 2012 is a point of departure for a debate over the broadening and deepening of democratic participation by citizens as well as conflict mitigation. The FES by the same token takes advantage of its access to the governing party, ministries, media, trade unions, civil society actors and youth organisations to stimulate a discussion in public forums regarding specific reform plans and proposals for tenable solutions to the ongoing crisis of constitutional reform.
Learn more about our work in Tanzania on the project's website.