Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) Political Party Biography

Tanganyika African National Union Political Party (TANU) 

The Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) was the main political party in the struggle for independence in the East African nation of Tanganyika (now known as Tanzania). The association was formed in July 1954 from the Tanganyika African Association by Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere when he was teaching at St. Francis College (now known as Pugu Secondary School). From 1964 the party became known as the Tanzania African National Union. In January 1977 TANU joined the ruling Zanzibar party, the ‘Afro Shirazi Party’ (ASP) to form the current National Revolutionary Party known in Swahili language Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM). TANU’s policies were to build and develop a socialist nation aimed at economic self-sufficiency and the eradication of corruption and exploitation, with basic production facilities under the control of farmers and workers.

TANU Meeting at Magomeni Dar es salaam
TANU Meeting at Magomeni Dar es salaam

Julius Nyerere was the first President of Tanzania, ruling from 1960 to 1985. In 1962, Nyerere and the party TANU formed the National Ministry of Culture and Youth. Nyerere felt that building this Ministry was necessary in order to meet the challenges and ambiguities of nation building and national culture after 70 years of colonialism. The Tanzanian government planned to create a space for the public to create innovations where recognizable Tanzanian cultures could be developed and nurtured. By incorporating various cultures and traditions of Tanzania, he hoped to increase prestige, eventually creating a national culture.

Election History

Election of the President

Independence 1961
Independence 1961
Election Candidate of the Party Votes % Outcome
1962 Julius Nyerere 1,127,987 99.2% Elected Green tick
1965 2,520,904 96.5% Elected Green tick
1970 3,220,636 96.7% Elected Green tick
1975 4,172,267 93.3% Elected Green tick

Parliamentary Elections

Election Leader of Party Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
1958–59 Julius Nyerere 47,685 74.4%
30 / 64


Increase 30 Increase 1st Supermajority government
1960 100,581 82.8%
70 / 71


Increase 40 Steady 1st Supermajority government
1965 2,263,830 100%
in alliance with ASP
188 / 188


Increase 118 Steady 1st Sole legal party
1970   66.6%
in alliance with ASP
106 / 106


Decrease 82 Steady 1st Sole legal party
1975 4,474,267 100%
in alliance with ASP
223 / 223


Increase 117 Steady 1st Sole legal party

Important to remember:

Between year 1958-59 TANU got a win on all the remaining 34 seats that were nominated.

The only legal party in Zanzibar which was an independent province at the time was the Afro Shirazi Party.

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