18 February 2013

Tanzania: Lawyers Lock Horns Over Meatu Seat Appeal

LAWYERS, on Friday, locked horns before the Court of Appeal on whether a case lodged to challenge election results for Mr Opulukwa Meshack Jeremia (Chadema) as Member of Parliament (MP) for Meatu Constituency, should be thrown out or not.

While counsel for the incumbent MP, Mr Godwin Muganyizi, requested the judges to "strike out" the appeal for being filed out of required time, advocate Beatus Malimi, for a member of ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Mr Renatus Masanja Salu, who lodged the appeal submitted to the contrary.

A panel comprising Justices Edward Rutakangwa, Mbarouk Mbarouk and Katherine Oriyo, said that after hearing the submissions from both parties on the objection raised by Mr Muganyizi opposing the appeal, they would deliver their ruling on the matter at a date to be announced later.

In his appeal, Mr Salu is asking judges of the appeal court to quash the judgment given by High Court Judge Ferdinand Wambari on May 4, last year, and subsequently give an order for nullification of the election results for the Constituency. Advancing reasons to support the objection raised, Mr Muganyizi explained that the appeal was hopelessly time barred because it was filed outside the required time.

He referred to Rule 90 (1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2009, to substantiate his submissions. The Rule provides, among others, that, "an appeal shall be initiated by lodging in the appropriate registry within sixty days of the date when the notice of appeal was filed with a memorandum of appeal, the records of appeal in quadruplicate and security for costs of appeal."

According to him, records show that the appellant (Mr Salu) received the last document for the purpose of compiling the appeal case on June 14, last year, but the appeal in question was lodged on September 6, the same year, which is more than 60 days.

However, Mr Malima requested the judges to dismiss the objection with costs, maintain that the appeal was lodged within time since the Registrar of the High Court was silent on the days to be excluded since the appellant received the last document.

"Since the Registrar is silent, then the counting should start on July 9, 2012, when he gave us a letter for certification. We pray that the objection should not be entertained," he submitted. The appellant was secretary and coordinator of the 2010 general election affairs for one, Salum Khamis Salum, who contested the seat under CCM, but lost to Mr Jeremia. The CCM candidate secured 12,824 votes, while that of Chadema emerged winner with 13,850 votes.

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