This was revealed by the Chief Justice, Othman Chande, in Dar es Salaam at a meeting between the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Panel of Eminent persons and judges at the weekend. There has been persistent hue and cry regarding the shortage of magistrates in the low courts at all levels, leading to a delay in disposal of cases.
This has not augured well with the country’s desire for fair and faster dispensation of justice.It also did not augur well with Tanzania’s belief in good governance and, by extension, rule of law.True to the saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, it is obvious that pending cases did not serve the interests of anybody. The delay only caused unnecessary suffering due to the long wait.
In some cases, court files went missing or were misplaced due to the long wait.But on the other hand, there could be other factors other than mere procrastination, including slow investigation of cases on the part of the police force. In some cases, a case can take up to four years to be concluded.On some occasions, magistrates have had to travel to some remote points in the regions to preside over cases, a very arduous undertaking.
It is hoped that the plans to deploy more magistrates will be implemented to ensure proper and faster administration of justice, especially in the rural areas, where the majority of people live.This effort should be complemented by providing the magistrates with adequate facilities such as residential houses, transport, decent offices and decent courtrooms.
Their salaries and perks should also be reviewed from time to time to enable them to operate diligently and efficiently.As we all know, their task is not an easy one as it needs a peace of mind to enable them write fair judgments. Let them get fair remuneration, please.