Tuesday, December 28, 2010
NEW CHALLENGES FOR THE NEW TANZANIA CHIEF JUSTICE
AN UPHILL TASKS FOR THE NEW CJ
At last President Jakaya Kikwete has appointed Mr Justice Mohamed Chande Othman the new Chief Justice. He succeeds Mr Justice Augustino Ramadhani, who is stepping down after attaining the compulsory retirement age of 65 this month.
The new CJ assumes office at a time when the Judiciary is facing many challenges. Not that there have not been any challenges before, but his predecessor tried as much as possible to solve some of them.
For instance, the outgoing CJ tried to bridge the gap between the legislature, executive and judiciary because these three arms of government should work together for the benefit of all Tanzanians.
He also improved the remuneration of judges, magistrates and other court staff. These improvements are besides the adoption of information and communication technology (ICT) for efficient dispensation of justice. As the new CJ steps into the shoes of his predecessor, we hope that he will complete the work the latter started but could not accomplish fully.
The challenges currently facing the judiciary include the environment in which magistrates work. Court buildings, including remand rooms, are old and dilapidated and lack adequate facilities such as toilets for staff members and remandees.
But perhaps the most challenging task the new CJ will face is the delay of cases, which has been an endemic problem in the judicial system for a long time.
Although the delays cannot be blamed exclusively on the judiciary, as a result of the involvement of other players such as the police and hospitals, it shoulders most of it.
The new CJ will have to ensure that roles played by such institutions are facilitated and that there are no undue delays in dispensation of justice. For, as it is well known, justice delayed is justice denied.
We welcome Mr Justice Othman’s appointment and wish him the best as he faces these challenges.