Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

One Party Democracy: The 1965 Tanzania General Elections


Geisel School of Medicine


The election defeat of a national Cabinet Minister in Rungwe West Constituency marked one of the most dramatic events of the 1965 Tanzania elections. Jeremiah S. Kasambala, the Minister for Industries. Mineral Resources and Power and a well-established political figure, was defeated at the polls by an unknown clerk from the local District Council. At first glance the outcome might scem due to a voting pattern which followed tribal lines: two small ethnic groups simply combined to defeat a member of the Nyakyusa people who predominate in the District. On closer analysis, however, far more complex factors emerge as contributing forces in the election outcome: an economic decline had occurred in the entire area; the two smaller tribes harboured strong foolings of remoteness and of government neglect; the registration of voters met with misunderstandings; and, as in other Tanzania constituencies, the supposed benefits from office gained by the incumbent and the difficulties of contact of a busy Minister with the people were effectively used against him. These factors were set against a political background that in many ways is unique. Comparatively, Rungwe District is highly educated, politically sophisticated, and economically prosperous. There has been an impressive history of successful experimentation in local government and political institution building. The present essay concerns the 1965 Parliamentary elections in one of Rungwe's three constituencies. It is an attempt to put a complex political event in perspective, and to analyse the varied forces which, in the end, led to the defeat of a Minister

Original Citation

Miller, Norman. “The Defeat of a Minister.” In One Party Democracy: The 1965 Tanzania General Elections. Ed. Lionel Cliffe. East African Publ. House: N.p., 1967.