Democratisation in Tanzania: No Elections Without Tax Exemptions

A demand-supply framework has been developed and applied to Tanzania to explore the link between democratisation, economic liberalisation and the use of tax exemptions to fund political parties’ electoral campaigns. In Tanzania, the demand for this type of money has increased since one-party rule was abolished in 1992. This led to reduced state subsidies to parties, while growing inter- and intra-party competition for political power through the ballot box increased the campaign costs of the last three elections. Political liberalisation also raised the cost of keeping together increasingly fragmented political elites. The increased supply of political funding for the ruling party is driven by mutual interest between the funding demands of political elites, the interests of companies and emerging capitalists for tax exemptions and other rents to succeed in business. This demand-supply framework helps to explain an increased use of tax exemptions for private companies and individuals around election years in Tanzania. The framework is also relevant to the analysis of political financing through tax exemptions elsewhere on the African continent.