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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1977
Last Amended 2005
Source The Judiciary of Tanzania
Translation Original was written in English
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


…NOW, THEREFORE, THIS CONSTITUTION IS ENACTED BY THE CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, on behalf of the People, for the purpose of building such a society and ensuring that Tanzania is governed by a Government that adheres to the principles of democracy and socialism and shall be a secular state.

Article 9: The pursuit of Ujamaa and Self-Reliance

The object of this Constitution is to facilitate the building of the United Republic as a nation of equal and free individuals enjoying freedom, justice, fraternity and concord, through the pursuit of the policy of Socialism and Self Reliance which emphasizes the application of socialist principles while taking into account the conditions prevailing in the United Republic. Therefore, the state authority and all its agencies are obliged to direct their policies and programs towards ensuring -
…(g) that the Government and all its agencies provide equal opportunities to all citizens, men and women alike without regard to their color, tribe, religion, or station in life;

Article 13: Equality before the law

(1) All persons are equal before the law and are entitled, without any discrimination, to protection and equality before the law.
(2) No law enacted by any authority in the United Republic shall make any provision that is discriminatory either of itself or in its effect.
(3) The civic rights, duties and interests of every person and community shall be protected and determined by the courts of law or other state agencies established by or under the law.
(4) No person shall be discriminated against by any person or any authority acting under any law or in the discharge of the functions or business of any state office.
(5) For the purposes of this Article the expression "discriminate" means to satisfy the needs, rights or other requirements of different persons on the basis of their nationality, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, color, religion, sex or station in life such that certain categories of people are regarded as weak or inferior and are subjected to restrictions or conditions whereas persons of other categories are treated differently or are accorded opportunities or advantage outside the specified conditions or the prescribed necessary qualifications except that the word "discrimination" shall not be construed in a manner that will prohibit the Government from taking purposeful steps aimed at rectifying disabilities in the society.

Article 19: Right of freedom of religion

(1) Every person has the right to freedom to have conscience, or faith, and choice in matters of religion, including the freedom to change his religion or faith.
(2) Protection of rights referred to in this Article shall be in accordance with the provisions prescribed by the laws which are of importance to a democratic society for security and peace in the society, integrity of the society and the national coercion.
(3) In this Article reference to the term "religion" shall be construed as including reference to religious denominations, and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

Article 20: Person’s freedom of association

(1) Every person has a freedom, to freely and peaceably assemble, associate and cooperate with other persons, and for that purpose, express views publicly and to form or join with associations or organizations formed for purposes of preserving or furthering his beliefs or interests or any other interests.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of sub-articles (1) and (4), it shall not be lawful for any political party to be registered which according to its constitution or policy -
(a) aims at promoting or furthering the interests of -:
(i) any religious faith or group;
…(4) It shall be unlawful for any person to be compelled to join any association or organization, or for any association or any political party to be refused registration on grounds solely the [sic] ideology or philosophy of that political party.

Article 39: Qualifications for election as President

(1) A person shall not be entitled to be elected to hold the office of President of the United Republic save only if-
(a) he is a citizen of the United Republic by birth in accordance with the citizenship law;
(b) he has attained the age of forty years;
(c) he is a member of, and a candidate nominated by, a political party;
(d) he is qualified to be a Member of Parliament or a Member of the House of Representatives;
(e) within the period of five years before the General Elections, he has not been convicted by any court for any offense relating to evasion to pay any tax due to the Government.
(2) Without prejudice to any person’s right and freedom of expression to hold his own views, to profess a religious faith of his choice, to associate with others and to participate with others in community work in accordance with the laws of the land, no person shall be qualified to be elected to hold the office of President of the United Republic unless he is a member of, and a candidate proposed by, a political party.

Article 67: Qualifications for Member of Parliament

(1) Subject to provisions contained in this Article, any person shall be qualified for election or appointment as a Member of Parliament if he -
(a) is a citizen of the United Republic who has attained the age of twenty-one years and who can read and write in Kiswahili or English; and
(b) is a member and a candidate proposed by a political party.
(2) Such person possesses or has voluntarily acquired citizenship of any other country-
…(e) without prejudice to a person’s right and freedom to hold his own views, to profess a religious faith of his choice, to associate with others and to participate in community work in accordance with the laws of the land, no person shall be qualified to be elected to the office of President of the United Republic if he is not a member of, and a candidate proposed by, a political party;


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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