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Is the judiciary in bed with the executive?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by Rutashubanyuma, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. Rutashubanyuma

    Rutashubanyuma JF-Expert Member

    Sep 25, 2010
    Joined: Sep 24, 2010
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    (By Rutashubanyuma Nestory.)

    The working relationship between the judiciary and the executive has always been a subject of intense scrutiny. The independence of judiciary is not only from the influence of the litigants and criminal suspects but also from the executive leverage. The judiciary has always been on the nooses of the executive. The budgetary allocations, recruitments, promotions and assignments to plum jobs have always been the executive’s clout to dampen the independence of the judiciary. The executive obsession with the judiciary is by no means accidental since the executive is always insecure with the way power flows towards and away of its hands. The legitimacy of the executive in a democracy like ours is derived from winning elections and paving a “law and order” environment for the regime survival. The rediscovery of multipartyism has exposed the executive to the harsh reality of a possibility of losing an election. The political lyrics of the executive has shifted from low to high notes and the impression we are now gathering is the possibility of the executive losing power is real, and forthcoming! Clarions like “A leader can hail from anywhere but a dependable leader will always come from CCM” illustrate the vulnerability the executive contends in our increasingly malleable and unpredictable political environment. In a distant past we were used to hear chorus that praised and gave assurances that CCM was and would always be omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent party for generations to come! The change of political tunes and notes is a recognition that the executive slowly but surely is alienating itself from the very people they rule. Average Tanzanians are perplexed when the political party they had overwhelmingly voted into power could all of sudden turn out to be callous and non-altruistic slashing even the “soft spots” of the most trusting CCM zealots. The rampant raping of natural resources and the determination of the executive to protect and defend shamelessly economic disempowerment of their own people, have left almost everybody who is on the receiving end gasping for answers. The status quo is full aware that its ever insatiable appetite for self aggrandizement has led to a spontaneous disconnection with the very people who had given them the legitimacy to rule. Tough times require tough measures, and the executive has lived up to this. The executive has sought succour from the fallible judiciary. When it comes to form commission and resolve a public matter, the executive picks on active members of the Bench to head those commissions. While the legality of those commissions is a subject of discussion for another day, the compromising marriage between the executive and the judiciary offer the conspiracy theorist’s factories some serious food for thought. When a judge who chaired a conspicuous commission is hastily transferred to another region after successful winding up his commission raises the eyebrows of many a conspiracy theorist. Whereas, the same judge is assigned the political case disputing the election result of an MP from the opposition batch, and the judge delivers a judgment that shrinks the opposition battalions in the parliament, it is not easy not to take note. Where the judgment attaches weight in one-sided alleged election improprieties to knock out an opposition MP, it is difficult not to query why the Supreme Court of Uganda stringent checklist in a similar circumstance was not borrowed to mete out justice. In Besigye and others versus Ugandan Republic suit involving Museveni presidential triumph dispute the Court had twice took cognizance of election malpractices but the Court was of the view those shortcomings were insufficient to overturn the outcome. The bone of contention in the Biharamulo West parliamentary election dispute lies on whether the judgment had proved beyond reasonable doubt that the alleged malpractices had clearly suppressed the voice of voters in line with the Ugandan Supreme Court decision (supra) in a related scenario. The difference of votes between the winner and the loser in the Biharamulo election was too minute to establish a finding that defamatory deportment on part of the winner had tilted the election result in his favour! Besides, the loser had done reasonably well in the election contest despite the claims of defamation! The Ugandan Court instructs the courts to be vigilant in protecting the will of voters against specious claims of exploiting election misdemeanors as a scapegoat to overturn the voice of the voters. [This writer is a public policy analyst based in Arusha.]