CHIEF JUSTICE SHOULD NOT MUZZLE VIBRANT POLICY DEBATE! (By Rutashubanyuma Nestory a public policy analyst based in Arusha.) It is now an official policy of the power that might be that if they want to curtail a vibrant public policy debate on any issue of huge public interest they seek succour in the defense and protection of the sanctity of the institutions of governance. When it comes to graft cases languishing in the hands of Takukuru, the executive has marshaled laws that ensure we can not peek via our written musings what is going there under pernicious scapegoats of non-interference with the course of justice! That is preposterous. How can we develop a better public policy on governance unless we are guided by the magic wand of vibrancy debate? It is clear from sunrise, the status quo is very apprehensive that more light brought into the affairs of the state will fumigate large scale abuses of public office and the state will do anything on her power to muzzle debate on public policy. Of lately, our highly politicized Chief Justice has lunged on debate over alleged abuses of public office now surreptitiously averted from the glare of public opinion. Just like his specious arguments of forsaking the rights of independent candidates and their voters deeply abrogated by political mischief, the Chief Justice opines that EPA and Richmond graft cases since they are in the corridors of justice the public should refrain from dissecting them or it will be regarded as interference of the judicial process! That is nonsense, pure and simple. In the promulgation of Chadema electoral bid, a senior advocate Mabere Marando bemoaned misplaced justice and stratification of impunity in the hands of the ruling party and the Chief Justice is adamant that by divulging the truth Mabere has compromised the independence of judiciary! The crux of Mabere argument was the real perpetrators of heinous crimes against the nation are roaming freely and some of them have shown the temerity of lending their names in the ballot box while their alleged accessories could be the ones facing the legal music on their behalf. Clearly, this has very little to do with the merits of graft cases already in the gingerly hands of the courts. Mabere did not evaluate the purported evidence of those court cases but he vehemently decried the culture of state sponsored impunity now defining our official engagement with graft. That the war against graft has been torpedoed by the ruling class because the arraignment of alleged sardines while endearing to protect the sharks will only stoke graft but not pollarding it. With all due respect to his lordship, where does he think the nation can appraise our performance on graft if we can not do it during electioneering? Chief Justice has issued a general caveat statement while the issues in hand are very specific in nature albeit sympathetic to hitherto graft cases. For instance he could have elucidated how the protection of sharks is an interference with the independence of the judiciary while their pernicious cases have been culled from exacting justice to the nation. Cases of the architects of Richmond, EPA and Radargate among other national scandals are not even in the court cause-list and will never see the wrath of justice under CCM hegemony rendering the Chief Justices diatribe laced with kidology a perspiration into futility. Very few really have trust in the institutions of governance because they have been foisted into executive retinue. Institution of governance are designed to protect the public from the overzealousness of the executive but when themselves have been insidiously co-opted into executive machinery you have to wonder to whose interests the Chief Justice bespeaks for. Definitely, the Chief Justice has least interest to advance good governance but to protect transient interests of the status quo of who he is a latest beneficiary. To be taken serious, the Chief Justice should initiate internal reforms at the judiciary aiming to wriggle out the institution he is shepherding from the executive clutches. And subduing the appointment and promotions of the Bench to parliamentary scrutiny may be a place to begin. Until then, we have no reason to mull over his distraught wishes.