Tanzania: CJ Tasks New Magistrates to Live Up to Their Oaths

THE Chief Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Juma, has urged new magistrates to give a true picture on the quality of the Judiciary of Tanzania by living up to their oaths they took in fulfilling the role of dispensing justice to the people.

Prof Juma made the call at the swearing-in ceremony of six new Resident Magistrates held at his office at the Court of Appeal in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday.

He reminded the magistrates that they have taken oath to uphold the Constitution, defend the law and give justice without partiality.

"So this promise should be part of your life that you will live as magistrates and in any other activity that you do. I would like to remind you that your oath does not end here," the Chief Justice urged the magistrates.

In Tanzania, he noted, 70 per cent of people who seek justice could be found in Primary Courts, thus magistrates who preside over the cases have a heavy burden of exercising their jurisdictions judiciously because many citizens do not have the opportunity to meet with Judges.

"Therefore, the citizen's picture of the Judiciary is the magistrate of the Primary Courts. I urge you to give a true picture on the quality of the Judiciary. We will all be offended if you give a picture that is not real. You are the image to the ordinary citizen and wherever you go," he said.

The Chief Justice reminded the magistrates on great powers they have by looking at the laws they enforce and that any order they make could affect the rights of citizens, including daily human rights, property rights or personal freedoms.

Therefore, Prof Juma urged the magistrates not to delay their decisions affecting those rights. For example, he said, if the magistrate could follow the law carefully and delivers justice rightly, it means the case involved would be determined early and justice achieved within a very short time.

"But if you make a decision that attracts appeals, then access to justice will be delayed. Therefore if you apply the laws careful, then justice will be done more quickly and if you do not, the citizen who seeks that justice will have to wait until the Court of Appeal issues its decision," Prof Juma said.

In addition, the Chief Justice urged the magistrates to continue monitoring the changes in the law. He cited the example of the next Parliament where there will be a number of legislative changes and some of those changes would affect justice in the courts.

"We hope you will monitor those changes and if approved by Parliament you must go with the changes," he told the magistrates.

On his part, the Principal Judge, Mr Mustapher Siyani, urged the new Magistrates to observe integrity, diligence and adherence to the various laws, guidelines, procedures and regulations governing the country.

"Fortunately all of you have been judicial employees and you are aware of what is going on in the Judiciary of Tanzania right now. So we hope you are going to do what is required. Therefore, go and work," he told the magistrates.

The newly sworn in magistrates were Mr Raymond Kweka who was Records Assistant at the Kisutu Resident Magistrate's Court, Mr John Musiime, who was also Records Assistant at Ilemela District Court and Mr Clifford Masinde, Senior Records Assistant at the High Court, Dodoma.

Others were Mr Haudeface Mpanju, Records Assistant at Bagamoyo District Court, Martha Mabagala, Office Assistant at Kimara Primary Court and Mr Protas Honono, Assistant Accountant in Singida District Court.

Other court officials who attended the swearing-in ceremony are the Chief Court Administrator, Prof Elisante Ole Gabriel, Registrar of the Court of Appeal, Mr Kelvin Mhina and the Court Administrator of the High Court, in charge of Primary Courts, Mr Humphrey Paya.

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