Ali Hassan Mwinyi

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Ali Hassan Mwinyi
Ali Hassan Mwinyi.jpg
Former Second President of The United Republic of Tanzania Dr. Ali Hassan Mwinyi.
2nd President of Tanzania
In office
5th November 1985 – 23rd November 1995
Prime MinisterJoseph Warioba (1985–91)
John Malecela (1991–93)
Cleopa Msuya (1993–95)
Vice PresidentJoseph Warioba
John Malecela
Cleopa Msuya
Preceded byJulius Kambarage Nyerere
Succeeded byBenjamin William Mkapa
3rd President of Zanzibar
In office
30 January 1984 – 24 October 1985
Preceded byAboud Jumbe
Succeeded byIdris Abdul Wakil
Personal details
Born (1925-05-08) 8 May 1925 (age 93)
Kivure, Pwani Region, British Tanganyika (now Tanzania)
Political partyCCM
Spouse(s)Mrs. Siti Mwinyi (m. 1960)
RelationsHussein Mwinyi (son)

Ali Hassan Mwinyi (born 8 May 1925[1] in Kivure, Pwani Region, Tanzania) is a retired politician who served as the second President of the United Republic of Tanzania from 1985 to 1995.[2] During Mwinyi's terms Tanzania took the first steps to reverse the socialist policies of Julius Nyerere.[3] He relaxed import restrictions and encouraged private enterprise. It was during his second term that multi-party politics were introduced under pressure from foreign donors. Often referred to as Mzee Rukhsa ("Everything goes"), he pushed for liberalization of morals, beliefs, values (without breaking the law) and the economy.[4] Many argue that during Mwinyi's tenure the country was in transition from the failed socialist orientation of Julius Nyerere that brought its economy to its knees. It was during Mwinyi's administration that Tanzania made some of the crucial decisions towards the liberalization of its economy that paved the way for short-term economic growth.[5]

Previous posts include Interior Minister and Vice President.[2] He also was chairman of the ruling party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) from 1990 to 1996.[2]


President Julius Nyerere retired in October of 1985 and handpicked Zanzibar-born Ali Hassan Mwinyi to be his successor.[6]Nyerere remained chairman of the ruling party Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), until 1990, which would later cause tensions between the government and the party regarding economic reform ideology.[7]When the transition of power took place, Tanzania's economy was in the midst of a slump.[7] From 1974 to 1984, the GDP was growing at an average of 2.6 percent per year while the population was increasing at a faster rate of 3.4% each year.[6]Furthermore, the currency was overpriced, basic goods were scarce, and the country had over three billion dollars of foreign debt.[8] Agricultural production was low, and the general opinion was that Nyerere's Ujamaa socialist policies had failed economically.[8]

Such policies included the nationalization of major production, the forced re-villagization of the rural population into communal farms, and the banning of any opposition parties.[8] Nyerere's supporters were opposed to involving the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in domestic economic reforms, believing it would cause instability and conflict with their socialist values.[7] Conversely, Ali Hassan Mwinyi's followers called for economic and political reform to liberalize the market and review traditional socialist ideologies.[7]He surrounded himself with reformists, even replacing three cabinet members and other ministers who were opposed to change.[7]The Prime Minister at the time, Joseph Warioba, along with the finance minister Clement Msuya were also quite supportive of new policies.[6]During his first address to Tanzania's Parliament in 1986, he promised to resume negotiations with the IMF and World Bank, assuming that any resulting agreement would be beneficial to the citizens of Tanzania.[9]

In 1986, Mwinyi made an agreement with the IMF to receive a $78 million standby loan, which was Tanzania's first foreign loan in over six years.[10] Bilateral donors approved this austerity plan, and agreed to reschedule Tanzania's debt payments.[9] Mwinyi claimed that his negotiations with the IMF were on behalf of the people: for example, he agreed to the Fund's request that he decrease the amount of public institutions, but only when doing so was necessary and could be done gradually.[9] Furthermore, he declined their recommendation to freeze pay raises within the government and to cut free public services.[9]

The following year, Mwinyi negotiated Tanzania's first structural adjustment facility (SAF) with the IMF, followed by subsequent agreements in 1988 and again in 1990.[9] In addition to these developments, the World Bank provided structural adjustment credits for reforms in the agricultural, industrial, and financial sectors.[9] in 1989, President Mwinyi began the second phases of his reform program with the intention of reforming social sectors, specifically by increasing government spending on education and healthcare.[9]

In 1991, the first stages of the transition towards multipartyism began when Mwinyi appointed Chief Justice Francis Nyalali to lead a commission to gage the amount of popular support for the current single-party system.[9] This commission submitted their report to the President in 1992, recommending that the government transition into a multi-party system.[9] They made this recommendation despite the fact that only twenty-one percent out of the 36,299 Tanzanians who were interviewed favored this change.[9] However, fifty-five percent of the seventy-seven percent who supported the current system were in favor of some sort of reform.[9] So, Mwinyi supported their recommendation and the CCM Extraordinary National Party Conference ratified these changes through constitutional amendments in February of 1992.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Ali Hassan Mwinyi married Siti Mwinyi in 1960, with whom he has six sons and six daughters. In retirement, Ali Hassan Mwinyi has stayed out of the limelight and continues to live in Dar es Salaam.[2]

Honours and awards[edit]


Order Country Year
Order of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere (Tanzania) - ribbon bar.png Order of Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere  Tanzania 2011

Honorary degrees[edit]

University Country Degree Year
The Open University of Tanzania  Tanzania Doctor of Letters 2012[11]
The East African University  Kenya Doctor of Philosophy in Business Management 2013[12]




  1. ^ Profile of Ali Hassan Mwinyi
  2. ^ a b c d Europa Publications (2003). The International Who's Who 2004. Routledge. p. 1193. ISBN 1-85743-217-7.
  3. ^ Brennan, James R.; Burton, Andrew (2007). Dar es Salaam: histories from an emerging African metropolis. African Books Collective. p. 252. ISBN 9987-449-70-0.
  4. ^ Cowen, Michael; Laakso, Liisa (2002). Multi-party elections in Africa. James Currey. p. 295. ISBN 0-85255-843-0.
  5. ^ Pike, John. "Tanzania - Ali Hassan Mwinyi". Retrieved 2016-10-11.
  6. ^ a b c "Tanzania; the end of ujamaa". The Economist. 7460: 43. August 23, 1986 – via The Gale.
  7. ^ a b c d e Bernadeta, Killian (2001). "Pluralist democracy and the transformation of democratic attitudes in Tanzania". ProQuest. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  8. ^ a b c Bianco, David. "Mwinyi, Ali Hassan 1925—." Contemporary Black Biography, edited by Michael L. LaBlanc, vol. 1, Gale, 1992, pp. 176-180. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 4 Oct. 2018.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Vener, J. I. (1996). "The onset of regime transition from single to multiparty politics: A case study of Tanzania" – via ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global.
  10. ^ "Tanzania; the end of ujamaa". The Economist. 7460: 35. August 1986 – via The Gale.
  11. ^ "Why OUT awarded Mzee Ruksa a honorary degree". IPP Media. 24 March 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  12. ^ "Former President Mwinyi conferred with PhD". 2 June 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2014.