Tanzania: Court Clears Issues in Union Case

THE Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar whose legality was challenged at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) has once again been left off-hook.

This followed the decision given yesterday by the Court's First Instance Division to uphold two preliminary objections raised by the Attorney General of Tanzania, the respondent, against an application for reference filed by Mr Rashid Salim Adiy and others, as applicants.

The justices dismissed Reference No.9 of 2016, holding that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter and that the application in question was time barred.

The Court also struck out from the records Tanganyika and Zanzibar that were also respondents in the matter, ruling that they were sued illegally.

According to the justices, the two respondents were neither partner states nor East African Community (EAC) institutions, thus have no locus standi before the court.

They pointed out that the partner state in question is Tanzania, thus the AG was sued legally.

The Reference challenged the legality of the Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar that was brought to effect way back in 1964 and has remained strong ever since, with people mingling from each side of the Union, moving and staying at will in accordance with the laws.

At the hearing the respondent raised two preliminary objections regarding the jurisdiction of the Court to entertain the matter and also the issue of the Reference being time barred.

The Court held that it lacks jurisdiction to entertain a reference whose subject matter predates the EAC Treaty, given that treaties do not apply retrospectively.

The Court further upheld the objection on time limitation given that the contested Union between Tanganyika and Zanzibar occurred in 1964.

During the hearing, the respondents were represented by Mr Gabriel Malata, who is the Solicitor General of Tanzania, while Rashid Mutola appeared for the applicants.

The Articles of Union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar is the main foundation of the Constitutions of the United Republic of Tanzania of 1977 and the Zanzibar Revolutionary Government of 1984.

They were signed on April 22, 1964 by the Founders of the Union, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Mzee Abeid Amani Karume and agreed in 11 Union matters that later increased to over 22 and are the source of tension and dispute between Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

Over the years, the two governments have diligently worked together to solve the Union matters. So far only three unresolved matters remain.

They are double registration of Zanzibar vehicles in Mainland Tanzania, the modality on how to fund the Union and share revenue and Zanzibar's shares in the defunct East African Currency Board.

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