Voter behaviour in Tanzania: a qualitative study of the 2015 elections
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date31/12/2100
In October 2015, John Magufuli became President of Tanzania and his party (Chama cha Mapinduzi, CCM) won a large majority in parliament. This thesis explains why Tanzanians choose to vote the way they do in general and in these elections in particular. It draws on qualitative interviews with approximately one-thousand voters in four field sites: one urban and one rural area in Dodoma Region where CCM are dominant, and a second pair of urban and rural areas from Mwanza Region in which the opposition are more competitive. By using theories of social remembering to understand vote preference, this thesis investigates a number of key issues that are crucial to determining political outcomes in Tanzania: 1) CCM’s track record in government; 2) The sources of information available to voters; 3) The role of money in politics; 4) CCM’s attempts to discredit the opposition; 5) The progress of the opposition since political liberalisation, and; 6) Local factors, including the behaviour of candidates. Having addressed these dynamics, attention is turned to how they played out during the 2015 election. The thesis concludes that, although Magufuli had significant appeal to many voters, his victory was aided by undemocratic manipulation. This shows that the process of political transition was far from complete, even before post-election developments that have threatened basic democratic principles in Tanzania.