21 April 2018

Tanzania: President's Message to Judges - Observe Ethics, Speed Up Cases

THE question of justice dispensation, speedy handling of cases and adherence by judges to their codes of conduct, were at the centre of messages to new judges who were sworn-in by President John Magufuli yesterday.

At the State House in Dar es Salaam, the 10 new judges of the High Court, Deputy Attorney General, Solicitor General and his deputy as well as Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP) took oaths of the offices.

The new judges are Mr Elvin Mugeta, Mr Elinaza Luvanda, Yose Mlyambina, Ms Emmaculata Banzi, Mr Mustafa Siyami, Mr Paul Ngwembe, Ms Agnes Mgeyekwa, Mr Stephen Magoiga, Mr Thadeo Mwenempazi and Ms Butamo Philip.

The President also swore in Evaristo Lungopa as a new Deputy Attorney General. He takes over from Mr Paul Ngwembe who has been appointed to the Judge of the High Court of Tanzania. The DDPP is Mr Edson Makalo while the new Solicitor General is Mr Clement Mashamba and Dr Ally Possi is the Deputy Solicitor General.

At the swearing in event, President Magufuli told the new judges that they should be God-fearing people when undertaking their duties, saying that would make handle the cases fairly. "I know that now there are people out there planning to corrupt you as we are waging an economic liberation war...you have a duty to Propel this country forward," he told them.

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Minister Prof Palamagamba Kabudi stated: 'Working as a judge is not simple... It's a profession to fear." He hinted that the government was striving to enhance efficiency in handling cases in the courts.

He cautioned, however, that in the course of waging an economic liberation war, the number of enemies also increased, hence there is a dire need to restructure the office of the Attorney General as the Fifth Phase Government has done through amending the laws. "The gift that we gave you as new judges is the backlog of cases," Chief Justice Prof Ibrahim Juma said.

However, he explained that an average number of cases per judge had dropped from 535 to 460 due to government's efforts to post more judges to the High Court. The capacity of each judge is to rule 178 cases per year, but under the new High Court strategies to speed up the case ruling, one judge has to decide 220 cases.

The CJ warned the new judges against engaging in misconducts such as drunkenness and indecent language. He dismissed claims that the budget from the government to the High Court had been reduced. Clarifying, he said, that on the contrary, the recurrent budget had increased from 125bn/- in 2017/18 to 141bn/- in the just passed ministry's budget for 2018/19.

The development budget had also increased from 18bn/- in 2017/18 to 35bn/- in the next financial year. On his part, Commissioner for Ethics Secretariat, Judge (retired) Harold Nsekela, appealed to the new judges to provide proper translation of the laws passed in the Parliament for the betterment of the country. He stressed that they should work while adhering to the ethics governing their profession.

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