Tanzania: Ija Principal Wants Fairness in Determining Election Petitions

THE Principal of the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) Lushoto, Dr Paul Kihwelo, has reminded all resident magistrates in charge in the country to abide by judicial procedures that follow democratic principles when determining election petitions.

Opening the second phase of training recently, Dr Kihwelo urged them to adjudicate on such cases without favouring or fearing any party competing in politics in the general election.

"The main purpose of the Judiciary to prepare this training is to ensure judicial officers who will be assigned to hear election petitions to do so professionally, timely, transparently and fairly," the principal is quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Judiciary's Information and Communications Directorate.

Dr Kihwelo, who is also a Judge of the High Court of Tanzania, further urged the magistrates to stick to Article 113A of the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania, which prohibited court officials from joining any political party, except to have the right to vote.

In addition, he asked them to review in detail the second part of the Local Government Elections Act (Cap 292) of the Laws of Tanzania which provided for several criminal offenses that they expected to receive, hear and determine without waiting for the Election Day.

The principal mentioned some of the offences to include registering at more than one polling station, forging various documents, corruption, the use of other people's identity cards and many more.

He also insisted them to study the laws, regulations, higher court cases and the electoral code of conduct on the election process.

Such training has so far involved Justices of the Court of Appeal, Chief Justice of Zanzibar, Judges of the Zanzibar High Court as well as Judges of the High Court of Tanzania who participated in two groups.

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