The Authoritarian Origins of Well-Organized Opposition Parties: the Rise of Chadema in Tanzania
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
The literature suggests that conditions in Tanzania would stifle opposition party-building. This paper explains the organization expansion of Chadema as a deviant case. Local branch establishment, social actors, state substitution, and banking liberalization all feature at the heart of this account.
Paper long abstract:
Well-organized opposition parties are rare occurrences in sub-Saharan Africa, and the literature specifies particular conditions under which they emerge. Tanzania met few of these conditions. By all accounts, Tanzania was an inhospitable environment for opposition party-building and for the first ten years after democratic transition, little opposition development took place. However, from 2004 onwards, one opposition party began a long process of establishing branches across the country. This paper is about the rise of Chadema in Tanzania. It documents the mode of party-building that it undertook, and why it was possible. It presents Chadema in Tanzania as a deviant case that contradicts key findings in the literature, and it uses that case to complicate and build upon existing theory. It agrees with the literature that the nature of the preceding authoritarian regime shapes the opportunities that opposition parties inherit. However, it contends that authoritarian regimes that are particularly successful in re-forming social life unwittingly encourage opposition parties in subsequent democratic regimes to organize. By successfully flattening the associational landscape, they rob opposition parties of potential surrogate branches, and therefore they leave them no choice but to develop their own branches from scratch.
Party Politics under Authoritarian Rule