National Assembly of Tanzania, Dodoma

The United Republic of Tanzania is a republic with an executive president. The president is elected in separate presidential elections held simultaneously with general elections; both elections are held by direct popular vote every five years. The president must represent a registered political party, and is permitted to serve a maximum of two terms.

The president appoints a prime minister who serves as the government leader in the Assembly. The president selects the cabinet from the National Assembly. He or she may also nominate 10 non-elected members of parliament who can serve in the cabinet.

The unicameral legislature is the National Assembly. Some of the members are directly elected by universal adult suffrage (in 239 constituencies in 2010). Other members include the attorney-general; female members nominated by the parties in proportion to the number of seats they hold in the Assembly; up to ten presidential appointees and five delegates from the Zanzibar parliament.

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania with its own president, devolved government and legislature. Zanzibar’s House of Representatives consists of 50 directly elected members, 15 female nominees (by the parties in proportion to the number of seats they hold in the house), ten presidential nominees, and five ex officio members; one seat is reserved for the attorney-general.

The House is responsible for legislation on domestic matters and, in practice, external trade.

The Court of Appeal is the supreme court and the final appellate court, and is presided over by the chief justice. The High Court has its headquarters in Dar es Salaam and is itinerant, holding sessions in the regions. It has unlimited civil and criminal jurisdiction and hears appeals arising in the lower courts.

The district courts and magistrates’ courts are presided over by magistrates, the primary courts having more limited jurisdiction than the district courts. Other more specialised courts include the Commercial Court and the Land Court.

The president appoints the chief justice and judges, judges of appeal with the advice of the chief justice, and High Court judges with the advice of the Judicial Services Commission. Judges of Appeal and High Court judges have tenure of office until retirement, unless their removal is recommended by a panel of judges from other Commonwealth countries.