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Podcast: 'In Chains' Episode 3

In the third episode of our new themed series In Chains, we speak with Dr. Alexis Aronowitz from University College Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands, who is the author of the article, “Regulating business involvement in labor exploitation and human trafficking” published in Journal of Labor and Society.

Brill Publishes Two New Book Series in the Social Sciences

Brill is pleased to announce the addition of two new peer-reviewed book series to its Social Sciences publishing program: International Studies in Maritime Sociology and Studies in Political Economy of Global Labor and Work. The series will be published online and in print.

Brill adds Two New Journals to Its Social Sciences Publishing Program

Two journals, the Journal of Labor and Society (JLSO) and Protest, have been added to Brill’s expanding publishing program in the Social Sciences. Both journals will be published online and in print. Previous volumes of JLSO are already available on Brill’s website, the first issues of Protest are planned for publication in 2021.


Acquisitions Editor


Jason Prevost

V&R unipress

Julia Schwanke

As in previous years, political developments remained generally calm in the mainland territory and were mainly centred on preparations for the 2005 national elections, especially the establishment of a permanent voter's register. However, local elections saw a limited outbreak of violence on the mainland as well as in Zanzibar, where political tension remained high throughout the year. External relations continued to be cordial with neighbouring countries and with donor countries and institutions. Economic performance was characterised by satisfactory continuity of initiated reforms, albeit without significant further improvements.

Throughout the year, most political attention was absorbed by discussions over the progress of the constitutional review process that had been initiated in 2012. A first draft of an envisaged new constitution was published in June and served as a reference point for all ensuing debates. Most contentious was the delicate issue of the future structure of the Union between Zanzibar and the Mainland. The draft somewhat surprisingly proposed a new three-tier set-up in contradiction to the position of the ruling Revolutionary Party (‘Chama Cha Mapinduzi’; CCM), which favoured the continuation of the current system. Final decisions on the constitution were left for a Constitutional Assembly, to be convened in early 2014. Internal power struggles between various CCM factions continued as the party tried to regain some of its lost credibility and was already gearing up towards the next elections in 2015. In reaction to revelations of massive human rights violations during an anti-poaching campaign, four ministers were sacked. Continuing social and religious tensions led to unrest and demonstrations and raised fears about a possible end to Tanzania’s hitherto typically stable and peaceful political climate. Two newspapers were temporarily suspended, indicative of government nervousness.

Throughout the year, most political attention was again absorbed by discussions over the progress of the constitutional review process that had been initiated in 2012. In February, a Constituent Assembly began lengthy deliberations about the detailed formulation of the text of a new constitution that was to be submitted to a general referendum for final approval. The most contentious issue proved to be the delicate question of the future structure of the Union between Zanzibar and the Mainland. While the long-ruling Revolutionary Party (ccm) favoured the continuation of the current system, the suggested draft text of the constitution that had been prepared in 2013 had surprisingly proposed a new three-tier set-up. Fundamental disagreements over the way forward led in April to the exodus of most opposition members from the Constituent Assembly. In October, the ccm majority eventually passed the text of a new constitution and announced a final referendum for April 2015. The acrimony over the constitution strengthened cooperation among the political opposition, while internal power struggles between various ccm factions continued as the party tried to regain some of its lost credibility and was already gearing up towards the next elections in October 2015. A major financial scandal and accusations of high-level corruption severely damaged the government’s reputation by the end of the year.

The political scene was entirely focused on presidential and parliamentary elections in October. In a tight electoral contest with a strengthened opposition coalition, the long-ruling ccm party was able to defend a more than two-thirds majority in parliament and to see John Pombe Magufuli elected as the new president upon the expiry of President Kikwete’s two-term mandate. The opposition proved unable to unseat the deeply-entrenched ccm system. Separate elections in semi-autonomous Zanzibar were declared void in dubious circumstances, with no crisis solution in sight before the year’s end. A promised referendum on a new constitution was not held. Magufuli introduced an unforeseen new leadership style, stressing discipline, rigorous cost-saving measures and serious ant-corruption efforts in state institutions. This earned him popularity among the general public, but also raised questions about an emerging authoritarian streak. Relations with Western aid donors were slightly strained over dissatisfaction with a lack of reform measures and the Zanzibar election issue. Macroeconomic performance and growth continued to be strong, but managing the budget proved to be difficult.

President Magufuli, in his first full year in office, stringently pursued a hitherto unaccustomed leadership style, stressing discipline, rigorous cost-saving and anti-corruption measures in state institutions, pushing for higher revenue generation and exercising power by continuous single-handed directives (including dismissals of top functionaries), often without regard for formal procedures. This earned him popularity among large sections of the general public, but also raised fears about authoritarian tendencies and a loss of space for dissenting voices (including the media). Public activities of opposition parties were curtailed and some of their leaders were repeatedly interrogated by police. A repeat of the allegedly fraudulent 2015 elections in semi-autonomous Zanzibar was boycotted by the opposition and led to a single-party situation in parliament. Magufuli took control of the dominant long-ruling ccm party and introduced sweeping changes to its structures in an attempt to consolidate his (not entirely undisputed) position. Relations with Western aid donors were slightly strained over the Zanzibar election issue and dissatisfaction with a lack of economic reform measures, while relations with key neighbours and eac partners improved. Indicators of macroeconomic performance and growth continued to be strong, but uncertainty over the government’s future course and prevalent liquidity problems throughout the economy somewhat stifled the private sector and led to fears about an economic slowdown.

President Magufuli, in his second year in office, ever more vigorously pursued an authoritarian leadership style that significantly narrowed the previously existing democratic space and curtailed critical public debate. The freedoms of assembly and of expression of opposition voices were frequently restricted by state authorities, political rallies were banned outside of election periods, many opposition politicians were repeatedly arrested, interrogated and intimidated, critical media were closely scrutinised and the state organs showed an increasing intolerance of any dissenting opinion. Despite a noticeable deterioration in the general political climate, the stability of the political system was not under threat and the dominant long-ruling ccm (‘Chama cha Mapinduzi’ / Revolutionary Party) was able to control all spheres of public life and still enjoyed the unwavering support of the majority of the population. Magufuli further consolidated his grip on the ccm, despite continued discontent within party ranks. On the surface, the situation in semi-autonomous Zanzibar remained relatively calm, but the long-standing confrontation between the ccm and the opposition cuf did not vanish. Neighbourly relations with Rwanda and Uganda were strengthened, amid minor disputes with Kenya over trade issues. Relations with Western aid donors became more strained over dissatisfaction with Magufuli’s erratic governance style, while cooperation with China was further intensified. Indicators of macroeconomic performance continued to be good, with a solid 7.1% gdp growth rate, but uncertainty over the government’s strategic orientation of stressing economic nationalism and continuing severe liquidity problems weakened private sector initiatives, raising worries about a looming economic slowdown.

The year was characterised by continued autocratic limitations on democratic rights and freedoms and a worsening security and human rights situation, but also by the president’s anti-corruption drive. Relations with most Western donors deteriorated significantly over human rights issues. Relations with neighbouring countries remained friendly; trade disputes, mainly with Kenya, nevertheless caused some resentment. China remained a major partner despite some complaints from the Chinese business community about a worsening investment and business environment. The government pursued its strategy to transform the country into a semi-industrialised middle-income country by 2025 and continued to implement major infrastructure and energy projects. The year witnessed a rather mixed economic outcome, with slightly reduced gdp growth, a deteriorating business climate, and continuing uncertainties about the government’s economic orientation, as well as politically motivated interventions in the private sector.

The year 2019 saw a further deterioration of the democratic space. Several new restrictive laws were passed and enforced; opposition politicians and civil society activists were harassed and repeatedly arrested. The important opposition party Civic United Front (cuf) finally split, with the main faction of its former secretary-general joining the act-Wazalendo (Alliance for Change and Transparency–Patriots) party. The long-ruling ccm (Party of the Revolution) also faced some internal tensions, but President John Pombe Magufuli completely dominated the political scene. Local elections in November had no value due to a total opposition boycott. Relations with China further intensified, while those with Western countries and donor institutions remained uneasy. Relations with neighbouring countries, the eac, and the sadc focused on enhancing business and infrastructure cooperation. The economic performance was rather mixed, with slightly reduced but solid gdp growth, a difficult business climate, and continuing uncertainties about the government’s economic orientation. A strong focus remained on investment in major infrastructure projects and the promotion of industrialisation.

The government’s unorthodox policy reactions to the global Covid-19 pandemic and the run-up to and conduct of national elections in October were the dominant themes in 2020. President John Magufuli flatly denied the utility of science-based medical protective measures against the virus and advocated prayers and traditional healing methods. No lockdowns of public life or economic activities were decreed, while the number of Covid-19-related cases remained unknown. Anyone voicing dissent from this approach was severely reprimanded. Magufuli’s authoritarian leadership style continued unabated, but he was undoubtedly popular among substantial (particularly rural) population groups. Elections in October were held in accordance with constitutional requirements, but in a political atmosphere which did not allow a level playing field for opposition parties. Magufuli and his long-ruling ccm (Chama Cha Mapinduzi/Revolutionary Party) won with conspicuously high numbers of votes in comparison with previous elections. All opposition forces rejected the results as fraudulent, but with limited protests the government remained in undisputed control. In the absence of rigid anti-coronavirus restrictions, economic activities were largely undisrupted. The gdp growth rate nevertheless slumped markedly, although remaining positive (a rare exception in Africa). Ambitious goals of pushing large infrastructural projects were further pursued.

The foundations of politics and of the whole of public life were severely shattered by the mid-March shock announcement of President John Magufuli’s unforeseen death, only months after the start of his second presidential term. Without delay or hesitancy and in accordance with the constitution, Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan was immediately sworn in as Tanzania’s sixth (and first female) president. Initially not openly digressing from her authoritarian and controversial predecessor, President Hassan nevertheless quickly introduced an entirely different leadership style, enacted changes in key ministerial positions, and generally opened up the political climate in a more liberal direction. The most drastic turnaround related to the acknowledgement of the coronavirus pandemic and an end to the previous denialist governmental policies. Only little concrete improvement was, however, observable in respect of a fairly functioning democratic political arena. A key opposition leader was arrested in July and kept in prison until year’s end without a verdict. The long-ruling ccm (Chama Cha Mapinduzi/Revolutionary Party) maintained its unchallenged dominance. Foreign relations, particularly with international agencies and donor countries, improved markedly. The economy showed relative resilience and recovered from a unique 2020 contraction, attaining an estimated gdp growth rate of above 4%. With a more supportive governmental attitude, the business climate improved notably.