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Political Communication in Tanzania. A presentation by Dr. Bernadeta Killian and Ayoub Rioba, School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), University of DSM. Tanzania’s political system. Political system enshrined in the constitution of the URT (1977)

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political communication in tanzania

Political Communication in Tanzania

A presentation by Dr. Bernadeta Killian and Ayoub Rioba, School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC), University of DSM

tanzania s political system
Tanzania’s political system
  • Political system enshrined in the constitution of the URT (1977)
  • Westminster model of government, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary complement each other through checks and balances
  • Single-party system (1965-1992). Multiparty system returned to the country in 1992
  • currently there are 19 registered political parties.
tanzania s politics
Tanzania’s politics
  • The ruling party CCM appears to be the dominant party, dwarfing all the others
  • CCM Presidential candidate has been gaining almost 17% of the total vote since the first multiparty elections in 1995. In 1995 CCM got 63%. In 2000 the party got 72% in 2005 the party celebrated with 80% win.
  • Political parties do not differ much on the basis of ideology or philosophy (exception CUF vs CCM on the Union structure)
tanzania s political system1
Tanzania’s political system
  • There are 26 administrative regions and 137 Districts in Tanzania
  • There are 239 constituencies in the country and a total of 307 MPs in Parliament, including those obtained through special seats
  • Although Zanzibar is part of Tanzania, it has its own governance structures such as a House of Representatives, a Judiciary, and an Executive arm. (Union matters vs. Non Union Matters)
  • There is a degree of political tolerance and free speech is becoming part of our political culture
mass media in tanzania
Mass Media in Tanzania
  • The mass media in Tanzania play a very significant role in political communication. Of course traditional means such as the use of opinion leaders, patronisation, local networks and social affiliations also tend to play an important role in political communication
  • The media outlets in Tanzania are quite political. The front pages of all newspapers, with the exception of sports papers, mostly cover politics. Other newspapers also dedicate a day in a week for extra political news and analysis in inside pages.
mass media in tanzania1
Mass Media in Tanzania
  • About 53 newspapers are in circulation on a regular basis. But there are over 400 registered newspapers and other publications
  • There are over 60 radio stations, including community owned ones.
  • The country has over 20 television stations and channels, mostly under private ownership
  • A very small percentage of Tanzanians access the internet while over 10 million Tanzanians have access to the mobile phone
redet survey april 2010
REDET survey April 2010
  • Main source of news on political affairs
  • 73.7%- Radio
  • 41.6% - Television
  • 27.4%- Newspapers
mass media in tanzania2
Mass Media in Tanzania
  • The Media in Tanzania can be divided into five main types of ownership:
    • State/Public
    • Private/commercial (about five major conglomerates)
    • Individual/independent
    • Institutional/partisan
  • Community
mass media
Mass Media ….
  • State/Public owned mostly seen as favouring the government and the ruling party (Although this has changed considerably in recent years)
  • Private/Commercial media mainly pursue business interests and the coverage of political issues is sometimes sensationalised in order to cash in. However, some private/commercial media owners have their political leanings and this is reflected in their reportage of political issues as well as actors.
  • The main media conglomerates include: IPP Media Group, New Habari (2006), Mwananchi Communications Ltd., Business Times Ltd, Sahara Communications Ltd., and Global Publishers Ltd., and other smaller ones.
mass media1
Mass Media…
  • Individual/independent newspapers are quite few and they mainly focus on investigative journalism in order to win readers and increase circulation. We have Raia Mwema and MwanaHalisi, for instance, in this category.
  • Institutional or partisan media outlets, quite numerous, are mainly owned by religious institutions or political parties. They basically seek to promote the interests of their institutions first. We have Alnuur, Mambo ya Nyakati, Uhuru newspapers, to mention a few;
  • Community radio stations are a new phenomenon. In this category we have Mlimani Radio and TV, Radio Kwizera, Radio Orkonerei, etc.
politics and media
Politics and Media
  • There is a seemingly an unholy communion between politicians and the media. The owners of three major media conglomerates are MPs (CCM). (One MP in this category passed away last year). A fourth owner is known publicly to be an active member of the ruling party.
  • Only one media outlet, Tanzania Daima, is associated with the opposition party, Chadema because the company that publishes the paper is owned by the party’s national chairman.
  • As such there is a general feeling that the owners would not run their media conglomerates in a way that would hurt their own party.
  • During election time, a number of obscure or completely unknown newspapers springs up, normally with a vicious campaign to wage against some contenders or to support their man (rarely women).
politics and mass media
Politics and mass media
  • Basically the most common means of political communication in Tanzania is the traditional one involving politicians and journalists. Whereas there are media outlets that have kept a professional distance from politicians, there are cases, imagined and real, of journalists who cohabit with politicians for personal mutual gains. This becomes more obvious during campaign time.
  • The following are the traditional means of communication in this category include:
political communication in tz
Political Communication in TZ
  • Press releases
  • Press conference
  • Politicians pay visits to newsrooms
  • Inviting journalists for field visits (mostly paid for visits)
  • Telephone conversations
  • Informal meetings at patrons corners
  • Politicians lobby for advertorials and airspace on radio or television
  • Political rallies and meetings
political communication1
Political communication…
  • Another common means of political communication in Tanzania is rather more traditional in the real sense of the word. Traditional means such as the use of opinion leaders, patronisation, local networks, social affiliations, religious communions also tend to play an important role in political communication. In this category there is also the use of music/songs, dance, drama, poetry, mounted loudspeakers sports and games.
  • There is also the use of other means of mass communication such as printed messages on T.shirts, khanga (quite a popular dress among many Tanzanians), caps, key-holders, billboards, posters, leaflets, etc.
political communication2
Political communication…
  • In recent years, political parties in Tanzania have also exploited new media technologies at their disposal to communicate political messages. A number of political parties have established websites and blogs, which are interactive and allow citizens to communicate back.
  • Recently, CCM launched its fundraising campaign through the use of mobile phones. The party has been using the same means (mobile phones) to send briefs and other short messages to members (citizens).
political communication3
Political communication…
  • The political parties are also using more sophisticated communication strategies like those used in highly developed countries
  • The main parties, and especially CCM, have started using well orchestrated, strategic communication, or PR campaigns, designed by experts to sustain loyalty, attract membership or simply win a political goal.
political communication and citizens
Political communication and citizens
  • Generally, citizens are still passive recipients of political messages from politicians.
  • Because of technological advancement and political pluralism we see a culture whereby citizens are increasingly becoming participants, as opposed to spectators, of the political processes.
  • They call in on radio/TV programmes to ask tough questions.
  • They write messages to newspapers giving their opinions on political and other issues.
political comm and citizens
Political comm and citizens…
  • Citizens attend political rallies and ask questions
  • They are invited to discussion programmes on radio stations, particularly those owned by the communities;
  • Those with access to the internet give their feedback through websites or blogs ran by political parties
  • There are television programmes that give ordinary citizens opportunities to give their opinions on various issues, including politics
  • Tanzania is still in transition from many years of a single-party system adopted after independence to a pluralistic neo-liberal democracy being promoted the world over.
  • Political communication is still, in some ways, a reflection of grassroosts communication patterns that are characterised by affiliations, associations and patronisation.
  • The culture of political tolerance is being cultivated;
  • There is a communion of mutual benefits being developed between politicians and media (and it may not necessarily be healthy)
  • Politicians and political parties are exploiting technological advancement to come up with alternative communication strategies
  • Citizens who have always been spectators in the political game are now, increasingly, taking part because of the new developments