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Political economy of grand corruption in Tanzania | African Affairs

This article provides a broad background within which the presidency of Magufuli in Tanzania may best be interpreted to avoid throwing away the baby with the dirty water. It offers a detailed analytical recounting of how a mix of “grand corruption scandals,” “political settlement” between factions within the CCM party, and suspicions of “capital flight” from the country, undermined meaningful development in the country from 2000 to the eve of Magafuli’s presidency in 2014. The author proposes the mobilization of new social forces that will interact with existing structures of elite politics to shape a new balance of power within the CCM party that could “upset the equilibrium within the existing factional networks” or “overturn the existing order by providing a focus for consolidation outside existing institutional framework.” Hoping that either could achieve at least a short term containment of grand corruption.

This article examines the political economy of grand corruption in Tanzania in the era of rapid growth and global integration. Grand corruption in Tanzania is linked to intra-elite conflicts within the ruling CCM party. However, the underlying dynamics of these struggles and how such elite politics interacts with the wider process of socio-economic transformation unfolding in Tanzania are not well understood. This article draws on the political settlements approach in building an analytical framework to examine four major grand corruption scandals that occurred within public finance from 2000 until 2014. In particular, it sets out the key actors and patterns in the factional struggles over corruption in order to demonstrate how the elite within the ruling CCM party is not centralized but composed instead of internal factions that have equal weight. The article explains how the enduring control of this elite, despite its internal divisions, can be explained by examining the balance of power in society beyond the institutions of the ruling party or the state itself. The article then establishes the mechanisms through which grand corruption shapes paths of accumulation within the domestic economy in Tanzania. In concluding, it argues that the fragmented distribution of power within the ruling party means that policy responses of the donor community, in particular the halting of aid disbursements, have been ineffective and are likely to continue to be ineffective in stopping grand corruption in Tanzania.

Read the full article titled, Political economy of grand corruption in Tanzania | African Affairs, Vol. 115, Issue 456, July 2015.

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