The flawed 2020 Tanzanian elections are typically blamed on an authoritarian turn instigated by the late President John Magufuli (1959–2021). This articles argues that focusing excessively on Magufuli obscures the authoritarian foundations of CCM rule: The strategies used to maintain political control under his tenure have deep roots, and have not taken CCM off a democratizing path it was never on in the first place. This conclusion underlines the risks of viewing leaders through rose-tinted glasses: Charismatic individuals can claim the reformer’s mantle, but giving them too much credence before structural reforms are implemented sells democracy short and increases the risk of authoritarian relapse.
Tanzania: The Roots of Repression
Issue Date April 2021
Page Numbers 77–89