To Restore Tanzania’s Democracy, Samia Must Solidify Her Reforms

To Restore Tanzania’s Democracy, Samia Must Solidify Her Reforms
Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan attends a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus, in Washington, April 15, 2022 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

In the two years she has been in power, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has implemented a series of domestic political reforms and notched some foreign policy successes. At home, she has reversed several of the retrograde policies adopted by her predecessor, John Magufuli, in whose government she served as vice president, while also launching a reconciliation agenda between the government and Tanzania’s main opposition party. At the international level, Samia has reopened the country to foreign investment and courted Western powers, while boosting collaboration with international agencies and taking steps to shore up cooperation with Tanzania’s regional neighbors.

Two years on, Samia has consolidated power at home and won plaudits abroad for her engagement with major powers like China, the United States and the European Union. Regionally, Tanzania has regained its reputation as an arbiter and broker for peace, for instance as part of the East African Community’s bid to halt the fighting and broker peace in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. These successes have placed her on a promising path to winning a full term in the country’s presidential elections in 2025.

Samia has framed her administration’s domestic agenda around what she calls the Four Rs—for reconciliation, resilience, reforms and rebuilding—while putting political dialogue with the opposition at its heart. That marks a sharp departure from Magufuli, who cracked down on the opposition and civil society, and isolated the country internationally.

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