PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete on Tuesday swore in 10 new judges who for the first three months of their appointment will assist with tackling a backlog of cases at the High Court, Land Division.
Speaking to journalists on Tuesday shortly after the swearing in ceremony at the State House, Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman said that currently the Land Division court has only four judges with 2,200 cases. "The Land Division is swamped with a lot of cases with only four judges, so the 10 newly appointed judges will assist with the cases, for the first three months, before they are deployed to their new working stations," the Chief Justice said.
The judges are Francis Katabazi Mutungi, Patricia Saleh Fikirini, Salvatory Benedikt Bongole, Gerald Alex Ndika, Mathew Muhina Mwaimu, Jacob Mwandegele, Jacquine De Mello, John Samuel Mgetta, Sam Mpaya Rumanyika and Latifa Mansoor. Chief Justice Othman said there is a plan to have more centres for the High Court around the country, and they have started with Lindi and Shinyanga, which will have new High Courts soon.
He said the current appointment brings the number of judges to 85, with 69 at the High Court and 16 at the Court of Appeal. On technology, CJ Othman said the public will soon be able to find out which judge will be presiding over their cases through their mobile phones and access their court proceedings through the internet.
CJ Othman said technology will improve efficiency and effectiveness at the courts, as well as providing rights to those seeking it. To start with he, however, he said that they have started using technology at the High Court and Court of Appeal, noting that there are more than 1,400 courts in the country that will be very expensive to equip, technologically.
"I agree that technology makes the work easier and improves efficiency but there are many courts in the country and it will be very expensive to equip them all, we have started with some divisions at the High Court and Court of Appeal," he added. The new judges expressed their gratitude to President Jakaya Kikwete for the appointments and pledged to work diligently to help ease case backlogs and ensure integrity in their work.