A DEVIOUS DEED OF SETTLEMENT IS THE BANE OF EAC PENSIONERS! (By Rutashubanyuma Nestory A public policy analyst based in Arusha.) The EAC pension saga seems to have earned a stature of an abysmal ordeal among some of us. Where the laws were enacted precisely to avoid courtroom melodramas those objectives were dashed at the altar of political willy-nilly manifestations. Behind every word uttered one fact remains undisguised truthful: There has been a covert policy to shortchange our gaffers whose only felony was to be too gullible to place their fulsome trust on their governors. It this unrequited trust which is now proving a costly colossal error of judgment on the part of our naive pensioners for garlanding too much faith not only on our rulers but also upon their well picked legal bellwethers who had negotiated this disingenuous deed of settlement. The gist continues to remain whether an unctuous deed of settlement whose only legal brawn is to reaffirm the ambiguous intents of the adversaries to be law abiding citizens was worth the paper it was limned, co-signed and accorded a baptism of fire at the Bench! The answer to that musing ought to be sadly in negativity. One does not hire lawyers to draft a deed of settlement which is notoriously reticent on the details of how each and every individual will be paid but trifles the entire edict to regurgitate what the laws of the defunct EAC dictate! The bone of contention was not in the laws themselves since they are lucid enough for execution while the governments penchant for pilfering its disposable employees was an issue of concern. So, if diligence was a coin in circulation there, a meaningful deed of settlement was supposedly to expunge grey areas of remit as compulsive imperatives of that concord. In a layman lingo: Litigants do not pay a court a visit only to agree to observe the law which is essentially what the protagonists did in that deed of settlement! The reasons for this whiplash are flowing from tenets of common sense and logic: The laws are already there to protect the plaintiffs and if there is a trespasser like our beloved government the best way forward is to curve a deed of settlement which binds the scofflaw to observe the law and the most efficient way to do it is to imprint the details of how the infractor will be yoked by the pact. In resolving the EAC conundrums, there was a need of tabulating each and every individual known retirement claims and securing the governments unconditional adherence to implement them. The pensioners legal dream team had initially drawn the roster of about 10,000 claimants but the government prevailed on them to abandon that basis of negotiations by averring it had in her possession three times of the enlisted claimants! But a genuine negotiator would have asked the government to produce the said roster and be affixed as a basis of settlement. That logical spoor was never tracked! Where the integrity of the EAC pensioners lawyers may be cagey to impeach but their decision to be paid by the government raises serious doubts of the legality of that settlement. Change of paymasters amidst tumultuous negotiations smacks of conflict of interest. I have a reason to believe the EAC pensioners legal team was glued to a speedy recovery of their legal fees at the detriment of their original clientele advocate obligations. In other words, conflict of interest had compromised the ability of the lawyers to diligently disburse their duties and obligations in favour of the stroppy pensioners. This is what the contract law has identified as undue influence. Another matter which had smudged the deed of settlement was a refusal of one signatory to append his signature to the deed. It is curious how the High Court had sanctioned such a deed without taking a judicial notice of the motives behind such a flagrant display of rebellion. Both these circumstances are sufficient grounds for the pensioners to retreat to the High Court and pray for the revocation of such a devious deed of settlement. Hasty efforts to seek High court clarifications over the deed impellents are without doubt frivolous since as the presiding judge had correctly voiced her well informed opinion the Court has no ambits to grant the prayers sought. It was upon the litigants to sort out the grey areas during the arbitration process rather than abdicating their duties to the courts. But in this entire fracas, the governments image is irretrievably in shards. Only a sanctimonious government can exploit a judicial system to eschew its onus: This policy of sacrificing public service loyalty for myopic gains engraves huge dents to the public service culture. Why pay more in the yonder years from willfully foregone loyalty?