Tanzania: Mixed Views Greet Plan On Deds Ruling

Dar es Salaam — Legal experts have differed in opinion over the government's intention to appeal the High Court's ruling, which banned senior municipal and district council officials from supervising elections on behalf of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). While some lawyers dismissed Attorney General Adelardus Kilangi's arguments as baseless, some said the State has every right to appeal.

In a landmark ruling, the High Court ruled last Friday that sections 7 (1) and 7 (3) of the National Elections Act, which empower DEDs to supervise and coordinate the registration of voters for presidential, parliamentary and council elections, were in violation of the Constitution.

The petition was filed last year by Mr Bob Wangwe, who is a Chadema member, against the Attorney General. Mr Wangwe was represented by advocate Fatma Karume.

But Prof Kilangi said at a press conference on Monday that the government, through the Solicitor General, had submitted a notice to the Court of Appeal informing it of its intention to appeal the ruling.

He pointed out that the High Court ruling will not affect upcoming by-elections. This is because the moment the government submitted its intention to appeal, the High Court ruling was placed on hold until the appeal is determined.

But Ms Karume said she would challenge the AG for going against a court ruling, saying that she doesn't see it as her responsibility to teach Prof Kilangi the basics of law.

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She criticised the decision to appeal as unfounded as well as stopping the implementation of the ruling, arguing that enforcement stops only if the contested law doesn't have a continuous effect.

"I bear no personal grudge against the AG and I don't have any interest whatsoever in instructing him on how he can carry out his duties," said Ms Karume.

"What I would like to see them (the government) doing is to follow the law. When a court ruling is made, they need to enforce it, that's all I'm asking for. No one is above the law."

But Mr Hamza Jabir, an advocate with Avis Legal law firm, said appealing is a right for anyone who thinks justice has not been done. He added that it was perfectly on order for the State to appeal the High Court's ruling.

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