Tanzanian scepticism of a militarised East African Federation and underlying military concerns

Josie Knowles, John Garry

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Attitudes towards a regional military force are of paramount importance when exploring public support for regional integration. Until now, however, scholarly research has not considered the influence of attitudes towards a regional military mechanism in the sub-Saharan African context. Using Afrobarometer data, we demonstrate that military concerns are vital when exploring Tanzanian attitudes towards the proposed political federation of the East African Community (EAC), the East African Federation (EAF). More specifically, opposition to military cooperation strongly influences Tanzanian scepticism of the EAF. This finding is highly relevant given that referendums in the participating member states must be passed to facilitate political integration. Heightened opposition towards military cooperation raises the possibility of the public rejecting a politically integrated EAC. This poses a potential obstacle to the implementation of joint security policies and crucial mechanisms to provide a more stable region at large. We account for alternative explanations of Tanzanian opinion formation and reflect on the strength of military-orientated concerns for investigating public support for the East African project specifically and regional integration in sub-Saharan Africa more widely.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-274
JournalAfrican Security Review
Issue number3
Early online date02 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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