Chief Justice vows to shake up the judiciary in Tanzania


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Feb 11, 2007
CJ vows to shake up the judiciary

Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani gestures during an exclusive interview with this newspaper.
Ramadhani promises zero tolerance' to corruption, but says he will also strive to improve remuneration as part of the campaign

By Bernard James

Fighting corruption, improving working conditions, remunerations of court workers plus reviewing rules of the Court of Appeal are among the key agenda of Chief Justice Augustino Ramadhani as the New Year unfolds.

In an exclusive interview with The Citizen at his office, the CJ vowed to fight corruption in the corridors of the law, noting that the habit has tarnished the image of the Judiciary.
He said corruption would top his agenda in 2008, as it is a major stumbling block for the majority to access justice in the courts.

"I will not tolerate corrupt court officials," vowed the CJ, attributing widespread corruption in courts to poor remuneration.

"One major reason is poor remuneration. It is an undeniable truth that court officials are poorly paid despite the fact that they serve in a highly sensitive institution," he declared.

He said that in the current salaries structure, a messenger or junior clerical official in the Tanzania Revenue Authority or the Bank of Tanzania earns two times what the magistrate gets per month. This shows great salary disparities within sensitive institutions, he affirmed.

"We have institutions which are considered to be sensitive like BoT or TRA. There you will find a messenger is far more highly paid than you can imagine," he said, contrasting with civil servants, including magistrates.

"So we really need to increase remuneration for judicial institutions as they are sensitive too," he said.

"At the end of the day these are the people you expect to deliver justice to the public," the CJ intoned.

Chief Justice Ramadhani said he would like to see the rules of the Court of Appeal reviewed in order to pave the way for justice to be less obstructed. Since the rules were prepared in 1978 none of its provisions has ever been altered, he pointed out.

His second wish is to spearhead the improvement of remuneration of judges, magistrates and other court staff.

"When I talk of remuneration it is not only their wages but also the working environment, facilities in courtrooms, and chambers of judges and magistrates, as well as residential premises," he further declared.

He also promised to change and update technology used in courts, saying that it was high time the Judiciary adopted information and communication technology in order to improve efficiency in the dispensation of justice.

He would also like to see the use of Kiswahili being fostered in order to enable the common people to comprehend fully what is taking place in the court process.

"The last thing I would like to see by the time I leave this office is to see Kiswahili given special consideration and used in all our courts so that people understand everything going on in our courts. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done," he said.

Delays in hearing of cases has also to do with failures of the courts, he said, citing irresponsible prosecutors and attorneys in causing delays. "This is the first thing I intend to start with next year," he affirmed.

Delays in issuing copies of court decisions and proceedings also denied many access to justice, he said, noting that in some cases it took up to one year before one gets hold of copies of judgments or rulings.

"Parties intending to appeal have in several instances found themselves failing to do so and those who seek to file appeals end up being struck out because they were time barred," he pointed out.

The head of the Judiciary also plans to enhance the use of new technologies that would enable the speeding up of court business. Concerning the shortage of judges in the newly established labour and land divisions of the High Court, the CJ said the Judicial Service Commission has already submitted a request to the president to appoint more judges to address the problem.

"We are yet to get a reply from the president, but what I know at this moment is that the president is working on our request. I am hopeful that next year we are going to have more judges," he noted.

He said special consideration will be given to the two divisions facing acute shortage of judges. The backlog of cases in the two divisions was getting out of hand, he said, hampering the resolution of vital public issues held up by litigation in the two divisions.

The Isles chief justice and Mr Ramadhani were recently quoted emphasising the use of Kiswahili in the court system.
"True this is my biggest concern and we have been facing a lot of problems. But rules direct that all court records be taken in English. So what we need to change is the rules," he declared.

The CJ says he would like to see Kiswahili receive special consideration and use in the courts.

Appointment of judges in Tanzania is done by the president upon consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.
The president is, however, not obliged to act according to such advice, which some lawyers believe may jeopardise the independence of the judiciary.

"I have strong opinion that the president must have the final say in appointing judges. So long as the constitution gives the president powers to appoint judges, it is necessary he retains the final say on the appointments," the CJ strongly affirmed.

Read the full interview tomorrow
reiterations.... we heard all that before....from him and his predecessors.....

really, kinda boring now, can't they just act!

Ile nchi ingekuwa inaendelea kwa ahadi, tungekuwa mbali. Natamani siku viongozi wakihojiwa waorodhesha waliyoyafanya badala watakayoyafanya. Anavyoongea ni kama vile kaanza kazi ya ujaji juzi, kumbe yupo milele. Ndio hayohayo ya JK ukimsikiliza ni kama vile CCM imeingia madarakani 2005!
Swali ya uchokozi hilo!

siyo la uchokozi. Nakumbuka yaliyomkuta Sarakikya baada ya kusahauliwa katika utumishi wa kiraia kwa zaidi ya miaka thelathini anapoamua kustaafu anapandishwa vyeo chapu chapu na marupurupu yote (nadhani ndiyo five star general). Sasa najua Jaji ana cheo cha Brigedia General.. nilitaka kujua tu kuwa yeye alishastaafu haya mambo ya double pension ni ujanja wa kugawiana.
Ukiangalia maneno aliyotoa kwenye hotuba yake aliposimikwa kuwa CJ, yamefanana kama 'kalamu za bick' na haya anayosema hivi sasa, sasa sijui atasema hayo hayo baada ya miezi 5 mingine ijayo.... mbona angetenda tu zile ahadi za mwanzo kisha atangaze matokeo ya utendaji wake badala ya kutangaza yale atakayotenda?!

siyo la uchokozi. Nakumbuka yaliyomkuta Sarakikya baada ya kusahauliwa katika utumishi wa kiraia kwa zaidi ya miaka thelathini anapoamua kustaafu anapandishwa vyeo chapu chapu na marupurupu yote (nadhani ndiyo five star general). Sasa najua Jaji ana cheo cha Brigedia General.. nilitaka kujua tu kuwa yeye alishastaafu haya mambo ya double pension ni ujanja wa kugawiana.

Nadhani Jaji Ramadhani hajastaafu Jeshini.
Pia kumekuwa na suala la Brig Gen. Kohi ambaye pia amekuwa uraiani siku nyingi(COSTECH), baadaye akarudishwa Jeshini.
Sasa huyu ndiyo mnasema apelekewe issue ya constitutional crisis?

Mimi nilikuwa mstari wa mbele kusema judiciary imepata mtu alipoteuliwa, kumbe ni kibaraka mwingine wa wasanii wa Boyz-to-men. Pale alipodiriki kumpa jaji wa mahakama kuu maelekezo kweye maamuzi ya ile rufaa ya best yake EL ndipo nilimtoa maanani kabisa. Hana sera wala nini asituchoshe na empty promises
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