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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete (second right) swears-in Mr Mohamed Chande Othman as the new Chief Justice at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday. Right is outgoing Chief Justice, Mr Augustino Ramadhani, while second left is the Chief Secretary, Mr Philemon Luhanjo.
STRENGTHENING primary courts is new Chief Justice Mohamed Chande Othman’s priority because such institutions attend to thousands of people seeking justice from culprits.

Justice Othman said soon after his swearing-in ceremony which was presided over by President Jakaya Kikwete at the State House in Dar es Salaam on Monday, that primary courts are a reflection of the country’s justice system hence the need to improve them.

“As leader of the justice system, my priority is to ensure that justice is delivered on time,” Justice Othman pointed out. He noted that primary courts are ill furnished and lack personnel including qualified magistrates to deliver quality justice to people.

Justice Othman, who was until his latest appointment Appeal Court Judge, faces an uphill task of pushing the executive to give the judiciary a separate vote in the annual national budget which lags far behind other organs of the state in sums allocated.

Because of poor budget allocation, primary courts are badly equipped with both manpower and equipment which has led to delays in disposing of cases and widespread corruption among poorly paid court officials.

“We want to strengthen the primary courts by providing qualified magistrates and infrastructure,” CJ Othman noted.

He paid tribute to his predecessor for having strengthened relations between the judiciary and other two pillars of the state, the executive and parliament.

Vice-President Dr Mohamed Gharib Bilal, House Speaker Anne Makinda and Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda attended the brief colourful ceremony held at Ikulu. Retired CJ Augustino Ramadhani said the High Court has significantly improved in both the number of judges and their remuneration over the past five years.

Justice Ramadhani gave an example of the Court of Appeal which had 11 judges when he took over in 2007 but now has 15 judges including the new CJ.

Justice Ramadhani, however, pointed out that Othman has his job portion allocated because the judiciary is under staffed, ill equipped and struggling at all levels from primary courts to Appeal Court of Tanzania in dispensing justice.

“We are on the right track but the new Chief Justice has a lot of work to improve the judiciary,” Ramdhani who is the shortest reigning Tanzanian CJ to stay in office, said.

Ramadhani’s predecessor, Justice Barnabas Samatta also attended Othman’s swearing-in ceremony.

The 58 year old Othman becomes the fifth Tanzanian national to serve as CJ after Augustino Saidi (1970/77), Francis Nyalali (1977/2000), Barnabas Samatta (2000/7) and Augustino Ramdhani (2007/10). Between 1961 and 1970, two foreigners occupied the position.

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