Tanzania is a republic under the interim constitution of 1965 and its amendments. Executive power is vested in a president, who is elected by the people to a five-year term. The president appoints a vice president and the ministers, all of whom form the cabinet.

The Tanzanian legislature is the one-house National Assembly. It is composed of representatives from both the mainland and Zanzibar; about half are elected by the people for five-year terms, the others are appointed by various public officials. Zanzibar has its own regional assembly. Tanzania has only one legal political party, the Revolutionary Party of Tanzania.

Judicial power rests with an independent judiciary. The Court of Appeal has final jurisdiction in all civil and criminal matters on mainland Tanzania. (Zanzibar has a separate court system.)