Tanzania: officially the United Republic of Tanzania is a country in East Africa bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south. To the east it borders the Indian Ocean.

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Tanzanian Government

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania is a unitary republic based on multiparty parliamentary democracy. All state authority in the United Republic are exercised and controlled by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. Each Central Government has three organs: The Executive; Judiciary; and The Legislature that have powers over the conduct of public affairs. In addition, Local Government Authorities assist each central government.

The Government of the United Republic of Tanzania has authority over all Union Matters in the United Republic and over all other matters concerning Mainland Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has authority in Tanzania Zanzibar over all matters, which are not Union Matters.

The Executive:
The President of the United Republic is the Head of State, the Head of Government; and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The Executive of the United Republic comprises the President, the Vice President, President of Zanzibar, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Ministers. The President is the Leader of the Executive of the United Republic of Tanzania. The Vice President is the principal assistant to the President in respect of all matters in the United Republic generally and in particular is responsible for assisting the President in:

  • Making a follow-up on the day-to day implementation of Union Matters
  • Performing all duties assigned to him by the President and
  • Performing all duties and functions of the office of the President when the President is out of office or out of the country.

The Prime Minister of the United Republic is the Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly and has authority over the control, supervision and execution of the day-to-day functions and affairs of the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. Also performs any matter or matters that the President directs to be done.

The President of Zanzibar is a Head of the Executive for Zanzibar; Head of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar and the Chairman of the Zanzibar Revolutionary Council. The Cabinet, including the Prime Minister is appointed by the President from among members of the National Assembly. The Government executes its functions through Ministries led by Cabinet Ministers. Each Ministry is charged with a sector portfolio.

The Judiciary in Tanzania consists of three organs: the Court of Appeal of the United Republic of Tanzania, the High Courts for Mainland Tanzania and Tanzania Zanzibar , the Judicial Service Commission for Tanzania Mainland. Magistrates Courts and Primary Courts. The Judicial Service Commission for Tanzania Mainland consists of: the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Tanzania (Chairman); the Justice of the Court of Appeal of Tanzania; the Principal Judge of the High Court; and two members appointed by the President. The Tanzania legal system is based on common law. The Tanzania Law Reform Commission is responsible for the review of the country's laws.

Legal System
The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania 1977 in its preamble provides that Tanzania aims at building a democratic society founded on the principles of freedom, justice, fraternity and concord, in which the Executive is accountable to a legislature composed of elected members and representatives of the people and also a judiciary which is independent dispenses justice without fear of favour, thereby ensuring that all human rights are preserved and protected.

For the purpose of exercise of state authority of the United Republic of Tanzania; Article 4 of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, 1977, provides for three organs of the Government; Parliament (which is established under Chapter Three); the Executive (which is established under Chapter Two) and the Judiciary (which is established under Chapter Five).

The constitution hence provides for legislative supremacy of Parliament and independence of the Judiciary. It also embraces the principles of rule of law, separation of powers and pluralistic political system. The government of the United Republic of Tanzania has for the past several years been engaged in comprehensive economic, political and social reforms focusing on broadening the role of market forces in the economy, strengthening human rights within the context of a liberal, constitutional order, and promoting democracy, good governance and protection of the environment.

A central feature of these reforms is the creation of an enabling environment for private economic activity and for generally enhancing the role of the private sector.
The reforms being undertaken affect all sectors of the economy and encompass, inter alia, reforms in the foreign exchange regime, the investment and trade policy, the agricultural and the financial and public sector.

There can be no meaningful administration of justice without a strong, independent and well equipped judiciary. Nor can market oriented economic reforms be implemented in the absence of a sophisticated, legal or regulatory framework, installed and administered by a competent institutions capable of meeting the exacting challenges of a modern market economy and business transactions.

The Government of Tanzania has taken steps to complement the Constitutional and legal reforms by upgrading and revitalizing the institutions underpinning the legal system.

The Court System and Judicial Administration
The radical economic, political and constitutional reforms in Tanzania highlight the pivotal role of the Judiciary in the new order. The viability liberal constitutional system and the efficacy of private economic interests in a market economy are contingent on a sound, efficient and honest administration of justice by judges and magistrates who are well equipped with both intellectual and material resources to deal with the challenges of the changing environment.

The Judiciary is sensitive to the demands of this new era. Recent decisions have upheld important constitutional rights of individuals against the state. The Courts of Tanzania uphold the principle of accountability for public authorities. The Judiciary is in a position to play an important role expected of that institution in a liberal democratized system.

The transition from a command economy to a free market system in Tanzania, has made the judiciary to grapple with complex adjudication in such areas as company law, intellectual property law, Commercial law, international business transactions, land transactions, international crimes, fraud in international financial transactions and other forms of white collar crimes. This calls for enhanced expertise and specialization, particularly in commercial law.

Tanzania, like other jurisdiction has addressed this problem by deciding to establish a commercial Division of the High court to handle commercial cases although the requisite level of specialization has not been achieved.

Administrative Structure of the Judiciary
The Judiciary in Tanzania is headed by the Chief Justice, with the Registrar of the Court of Appeal as the Chief Executive Officer. The Principal Judge (JK) assisted by the Registrar of the High Court, is in charge of the Administration of the High court and the Courts subordinate thereto.

The High Court is divided into Zones, which are administered by Judges in Charge with the assistance of District Registrars. At Regional and District levels, the administration is under Resident and District Magistrate in Charge. District Magistrates in Charge also do supervise Primary Courts in their respective districts.

The Legal System of Zanzibar
Apart from sharing the Court of Appeal of the United Republic with Mainland Tanzania, Zanzibar has a distinct and separate legal system. The Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania makes clear that the High Court of Zanzibar is not a Union matter. Article 114 of the Constitution of Tanzania expressly reserves the continuance of the High Court of Zanzibar institutions with their jurisdiction.

Similarly, the Attorney General's Chambers of Zanzibar fall outside the purview of Union matters, and it is a department of Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar. The Attorney General's Chambers are part of the portfolio of the Minister of State in the Chief Minister's Office. The Court system in Zanzibar has a High Court, Kadhis Courts and the Magistrates Courts.

Legislature (The Parliament):
The Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania consists two parts, i.e. the President and the National Assembly. The President exercises authority vested in him by the constitution to assent the law a necessary aspect in the completion of the enactment process. The National Assembly is the principal organ of the United Republic and has authority on behalf of the people to oversee and advise the Government of the United Republic and all its organs in the discharge of their respective responsibilities.

The National Assembly consists of four categories of Members of Parliament, namely:

  • Members elected directly to represent constituencies;
  • Five members elected by the House of Representatives from among its members;
  • The Attorney General;
  • Ten members nominated by the President and
  • Women members being not less than fifteen percent of the members of all other categories on the basis of proportional representation among those parties in the Parliament.

The Parliament is headed by the Speaker who is assisted by the Deputy Speaker and the Clerk to the National Assembly as Head of the Secretariat of the National Assembly. For better discharge of its functions the National Assembly has various Standing Committees.

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