26 February 2013

Tanzania: Court Throws Out Meatu Seat Appeal

THE Court of Appeal yesterday threw out an appeal lodged by a member of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), Renatus Masanja Salu, challenging election results for Mr Opulukwa Meshack Jeremia (Chadema) as Member of Parliament (MP) for Meatu Constituency.

Justices Edward Rutakangwa, Mbarouk Mbarouk and Katherine Oriyo ruled in favour of Mr Jeremia, the incumbent MP, after sustaining a ground of preliminary objection presented by his advocate, Mr Godwin Muganyizi.

Mr Muganyizi had submitted that the appeal was time barred because it was filed out of required 60 days from the day the appellant lodged the notice of appeal and that the certificate of delay found in the records failed to state the number of days to be excluded in compliance of the Court of Appeal Rules.

He referred to Rule 90 (1) of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2009, which provides, '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 quintuplicate and security for costs.'

In their ruling, the justices said the requirement for the Registrar to certify the time and more so to mention the number of days to be excluded for the preparation and delivery of a copy of proceedings, judgment and decree applied by the intended appellant was mandatory.

"We, therefore, agree with Mr Muganyizi that such a failure to mention the number of days to be excluded in the certificate of delay is incurable irregularity and renders it invalid," the judges ruled. They added, "Since there is no valid certificate of delay on records, this appeal ought to have been instituted by July 8, 2012 as the notice of appeal was lodged on May 9, 2012."

According to the judges, even if the certificate of delay was valid, all the same the appellant was supposed to lodge the appeal by August 18, 2012, but he filed on September 6, 2012. Hence, they concluded, the appeal was instituted out of the prescribed 60 days time.

In his appeal, Mr Salu was 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.

The appellant was secretary and coordinator of all 2010 general election affairs for one, Salum Khamis Salum, who contested for the seat under CCM, but lost to Mr Jeremia. The CCM candidate secured 12,824 votes, while that of Chadema immerged winner with 13,850 votes.

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