The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







The United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania in Swahili) is a country on the east coast of central Africa. It is 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. The capital of Tanzania was officially moved from Dar es Salaam to Dodoma in 1996, although many government offices remain in Dar es Salaam.



Main article: History of Tanzania

The area was a German colony from the 1880s to 1919, then became a British trust territory from 1919 to 1961. Julius Nyerere became Minister of British-administered Tanganyika in 1960, and continued as Prime Minister when Tanganyika became independent in 1961. In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar (which had become independent in 1963) merged to form the nation of Tanzania on April 26, 1964. Nyerere introduced a form of African socialism termed Ujama , which emphasized justice and equality, but proved economically disastrous, leading to food shortages as collective farms failed.

In 1979, Tanzania declared war on Uganda after Uganda invaded and tried to annex Tanzanian territory in the north of the country. Tanzania not only expelled Ugandan forces, but also invaded Uganda itself, forcing the ouster of Idi Amin.

Nyerere handed over power to Ali Hassan Mwinyi in 1985, but retained control of the ruling party as Chairman until 1990, when he handed that responsibility to Mwinyi. One-party rule came to an end in October 1995 when Tanzania held its first ever multi-party election. Benjamin Mkapa was subsequently sworn in as the new president of the United Republic of Tanzania on 23 November, 1995.

Tanzania was somewhat hit by this tsunami; 11 were killed.


Main article: Politics of Tanzania

Tanzania's president and National Assembly members are elected concurrently by direct popular vote for 5-year terms. The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government's leader in the National Assembly. The president selects his cabinet from among National Assembly members. The Constitution also empowers him to nominate 10 non-elected members of Parliament, who also are eligible to become cabinet members. Elections for president and all National Assembly seats will be held in October 2005.

The unicameral National Assembly elected in 2000 has 295 members. These 295 members include the Attorney General, five members elected from the Zanzibar House of Representatives to participate in the Parliament, the special women's seats which are made up of 20% of the seats a particular party has in the House, 181 constituents seats of members of Parliament from the mainland, and 50 seats from Zanzibar. Also in the list are 48 appointed for women and the seats for the 10 nominated members of Parliament. At present, the ruling CCM holds about 93% of the seats in the Assembly. Laws passed by the National Assembly are valid for Zanzibar only in specifically designated union matters.

Zanzibar's House of Representatives has jurisdiction over all non-union matters. There are currently 76 members in the House of Representatives in Zanzibar, including 50 elected by the people, 10 appointed by the president of Zanzibar, 5 ex officio members, and an attorney general appointed by the president. In May 2002, the government increased the number of special seats allocated to women from 10 to 15, which will increase the number of House of Representatives members to 81. Ostensibly, Zanzibar's House of Representatives can make laws for Zanzibar without the approval of the union government as long as it does not involve union-designated matters. The terms of office for Zanzibar's president and House of Representatives also are 5 years. The semiautonomous relationship between Zanzibar and the union is a relatively unique system of government.

Tanzania has a five-level judiciary combining the jurisdictions of tribal, Islamic, and British common law. Appeal is from the primary courts through the district courts, resident magistrate courts, to the high courts, and Court of Appeals. Judges are appointed by the Chief Justice, except those for the Court of Appeals and the High Court who are appointed by the president. The Zanzibari court system parallels the legal system of the union, and all cases tried in Zanzibari courts, except for those involving constitutional issues and Islamic law, can be appealed to the Court of Appeals of the union. A commercial court was established in September 1999 as a division of the High Court.

For administrative purposes, Tanzania is divided into 26 regions--21 on the mainland, 3 on Zanzibar, and 2 on Pemba. Ninety-nine district councils have been created to further increase local authority. These districts are also now referred to as local government authorities. Currently there are 114 councils operating in 99 districts, 22 are urban and 92 are rural. The 22 urban units are classified further as city (Dar es Salaam and Mwanza), municipal (Arusha, Dodoma, Iringa, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro, Shinyanga, Tabora, and Tanga), and town councils (the remaining 11 communities).


Map of Tanzania
Map of Tanzania

Main article: Geography of Tanzania


Main article: Economy of Tanzania

Tanzania is one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for half of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 90% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry is mainly limited to processing agricultural products and light consumer goods. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and bilateral donors have provided funds to rehabilitate Tanzania's deteriorated economic infrastructure. Although it has vast amount of natural resources like gold deposits, beautiful national parks which are underdeveloped and less exploited thus they generate little revenue. Growth in 1991-99 has featured a pickup in industrial production and a substantial increase in output of minerals, led by gold. Natural gas exploration in the Rufiji Delta looks promising and production could start by 2002. Recent banking reforms have helped increase private sector growth and investment. Short-term economic progress also depends on curbing corruption and cutting on unnecessary public spending [1].


Main article: Demographics of Tanzania

Population distribution in Tanzania is extremely uneven. Density varies from 1 person per square kilometer (3 per sq. mi.) in arid regions to 51 per square kilometer (133 per sq. mi.) in the mainland's well-watered highlands to 134 per square kilometer (347 per sq. mi.) on Zanzibar. More than 80% of the population is rural. Dar es Salaam is the capital and largest city; Dodoma, located in the center of Tanzania, has been designated the new capital and the Parliament sits there, although action to move the capital has stalled.

The African population consists of more than 120 ethnic groups, of which the Sukuma, Haya, Nyakyusa, Nyamwezi, and Chaga have more than 1 million members. The majority of Tanzanians, including such large tribes as the Sukuma and the Nyamwezi, are of Bantu stock. Groups of Nilotic or related origin include the nomadic Masai and the Luo, both of which are found in greater numbers in neighboring Kenya. Two small groups speak languages of the Khoisan family peculiar to the Bushman and Hottentot peoples. Cushitic-speaking peoples, originally from the Ethiopian highlands, reside in a few areas of Tanzania.

Although much of Zanzibar's African population came from the mainland, one group known as Shirazis traces its origins to the island's early Persian settlers. Non-Africans residing on the mainland and Zanzibar account for 1% of the total population. The Asian community, including Hindus, Sikhs, Shi'a and Sunni Muslims, and Goans, has declined by 50% in the past decade to 50,000 on the mainland and 4,000 on Zanzibar. An estimated 70,000 Arabs and 10,000 Europeans reside in Tanzania.

Each ethnic group has its own language, but the national language is Kiswahili, a Bantu-based tongue with strong Arabic borrowings.


Main article: Regions of Tanzania

Tanzania is divided into 26 regions: Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Iringa, Kagera, Kigoma , Kilimanjaro, Lindi, Manyara , Mara , Mbeya , Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Pemba North , Pemba South , Pwani , Rukwa , Ruvuma, Shinyanga , Singida , Tabora , Tanga, Zanzibar Central/South , Zanzibar North , Zanzibar Urban/West


Main article: Culture of Tanzania

Tarabu Music [2] is a fusion of Swahili tunes sung in rhythmic poem spiced with Arabic or at times Indian melodies. It is an extremely lively art form springs from a classical culture, still immensely popular drawing all the time from old and new sources, a major part of social life of the Swahili people of the coast. Wherever the Swahili speaking people travelled. Tarabu culture moved with them. It has penetrated to as far as Uganda. Rwanda and Burundi in the interior of East Africa. In the Persian Gulf, Dubai and Muscat play host to many groups of Tarabu who perform in these capitals frequently.

These days a taarab revolution [3] is taking place and much heated debate continues about the music which has been changed drastically by the East African Melody phenomenon. Melody, as they are affectionately known by their mostly women fans, play modern taarab, which, for the first time, is 'taarab to dance to' and features direct lyrics, by passing the unwritten laws of lyrical subtlety of the older groups. Much of their music is composed and played on keyboards, increasing portability, hence the group is much smaller in number than 'real taarab' orchestras and therefore more readily available to tour and play shows throughout the region.

Tanzanian music has been lacking its identity for quite a long time, this is partly attributed to the influx of musicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire), who were entering the country as refugees. But in recent years, mainly from the mid-nineties, a new breed of young Tanzanian musicians has emerged.

The Tanzanian artistes have devised a new style going by the name of "Bongo Flava", which is blend of all sorts of melodies, beats, rhythms and sounds. The trend among the Tanzanian music consumers has started changing towards favouring products from their local artists who sing in Swahili, the national language.

The mushrooming of FM music stations and cheap production studios has been a major boost to the music industry in the country. Contemporary artists like Lady Jaydee, Mr Nice and many others command a huge audience of followers in the country and neighbouring countries.

More information about Tanzanian music and events can be found on the various portals that have sprung up recently. Tanzania has an enormously high growth-rate for internet technologies, estimated at up to 500% per year. Because costs for computers are still quite high many users share connections at internet cafes or at work. business directory, Movie and Sports information, Arusha locality information all are part of an increasing number of websites dedicated to the region.


Telecommunication services in Tanzania are often very unreliable. The mobile telephone services are usually available only in urban areas, although there are currently efforts to provide nationwide mobile phone coverage. [4]

mobile phone companies

  • Vodacom
  • Celtel
  • Mobitel
  • Zantel
  • Tanzania Telecommunications Company

Miscellaneous topics

External links

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