Dr. Ibrahim Lipumba, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
with comments by
Joel D. Barkan, Senior Associate, Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies
About the Event
Tanzania, which celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence on December 9, is often considered an African success story due to its political stability, social cohesion, and lack of violent civil strife or military coups. Long before lifetime presidencies were out of fashion, President Julius Nyerere (1962–1985) was among the first African leaders to step down voluntarily from office. In 1992, Tanzania instituted a multiparty system and held its fourth election in 2010. It also liberalized its economy, and has registered impressive growth in the past decade.
Despite these significant achievements, however, there remain critical challenges to be addressed before the country can claim the mantle of success. A majority of Tanzanians live in poverty and have yet to enjoy an equitable share of the country’s wealth. The political system is dominated by a hegemonic ruling party, corruption is rife, elections are free but not fair, and the state suffers from weak capacity. Indeed, while unique in some contexts, Tanzania exhibits many of the qualities of an underdeveloped and semi-democratic state.
In his presentation, Dr. Ibrahim Lipumba reflected on Tanzania’s achievements and the challenges ahead as we marked the 50th anniversary of Tanzanian independence. Dr. Joel D. Barkan provided comments.
About the Speakers
Since 1999, Dr. Ibrahim Lipumba has served as national chairman of the Civic United Front (CUF), a liberal political party in Tanzania with strong support in Zanzibar. Dr. Lipumba is from mainland Tanzania and has run for president on the CUF ticket four times (1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010). From 2009–2010, he led the CUF in negotiations with the ruling party in order to resolve the political crisis in Zanzibar through a power-sharing agreement. Before he entered party politics, Dr. Lipumba was a professor of economics at the University of Dar es Salaam (1983–1996) and a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the Center for Development Economics at Williams College (1993–1995). He also served as Senior Research Fellow at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki (1996–1998). During his fellowship, Dr. Lipumba is examining the structure of governance institutions in developing countries with functioning democracies and rapid economic growth, in order to draw lessons for building accountable institutions that will foster sustainable and equitable development in Tanzania.
Dr. Joel D. Barkan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Iowa and senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.