Published on Tuesday, 06 May 2014 04:37
Written by MARC NKWAME in Arusha
FOREIGN laws that many African countries, including Tanzania, had inherited from their former colonial masters, have remained a major stumbling block in the provision of equal justice to all, President Jakaya Kikwete stated.
President Kikwete of Tanzania
Colonial masters left behind vague and intangible laws
Many of the alien laws are also defined in foreign language and always incomprehensible to ordinary citizens who also perceive them as too expensive and just meant for the affluent few,” said President Kikwete while officially opening the 12th Biennial Conference of International Association of Women Judges taking place at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
He, however, took solace at the legal and judiciary reform process currently taking place. “I am glad to announce that Tanzania is currently embarking on legal and judiciary reforms meant to transform our courts and magistrates to be more accessible and people friendly to ordinary residents,” the president told his audience.
Running under the theme, “Justice to all” the International Women Judges’ meeting here, targets to address issues of vulnerable groups, such as women, children, poor people and those with physical disabilities, accessing legal services as well as getting justice freely and timely. More than 600 women judges from all over the world have gathered in Arusha for the five-day event organised by the Tanzania Women Judges Association and the Judiciary
“For any country’s legal system to work effectively, the guiding regulations practiced within must bear customary home-grown roots, something which seems to be lacking in most previously colonized states that instead inherited or copied from their previous alien rulers,’’ the president noted.
The Head of State also pointed out that taking the advantage of poor people’s legal ignorance; many wealthy people have also been misusing their financial position in twisting the laws to their favour -- at the expense of others.
President Kikwete also pointed out that in addition to the vague and intangible laws that foreign masters left behind, the country was also being challenged by limited and few legal infrastructure and manpower to effectively deliver justice to all.
Our legal practitioners must also have excellent knowledge on the laws, regulations and the constraints involved,” he stated.