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This constitution is available in English.
Capable legislatures are crucial in creating an enabling environment for democratic growth and good governance in emerging African democracies. The legislature is the principal forum for communicating people‟s needs and the efficacy of the institution to check Executive power through oversight, ensure transparency and accountability in economic management, and formulate coherent laws that uphold human rights makes it a valuable instrument for promoting democracy and the rule of law. Fulfilling this mandate through the parliamentary processes, however, requires the legislature to possess some essential organizational and resource capacities. How capable are African legislatures in meeting this challenge?
Tanzania offers a good case study, having been acknowledged widely as one of Africa‟s promising democracies, and this paper seeks to probe the capacity of the country‟s legislature to meet the mandate. Before doing so, however, two notable structural peculiarities that encumber the legislature must be recognized. One derives from the unique political system of the "United Republic" that creates two political entities. A union of two former sovereign states, Tangayika and the island of Zanzibar, Tanzania‟s constitution recognizes the latter as semiautonomous with its own president, legislature, courts, etc. and some exclusive jurisdictions. Accordingly, the Union maintains two separate and distinct electoral commissions and voter registries, separate legislative bodies each with their own internal processes and rules, separate court systems with Zanzibar having its own system of khadis or Islamic courts, and different political landscapes, most notably a strongly polarized and engaged electorate supporting two opposing parties in Zanzibar and an essentially single party state on the Mainland.