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Law Society drags Tanzania govt to court over choice of judge for E.A court

The East African Court of Justice in session recently. The Uganda Law Society has dragged the Tanzanian government to the court questioning the appointment of Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri as the judge of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). (EACJ PHOTO)

ARUSHA – Tanzania government has been taken to court over the appointment of Lady Justice Sauda Mjasiri as the judge of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

The Lady Justice was fronted by Tanzania and later appointed as the judge of the regional court and later sworn in during the February 1st Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State in Arusha.

In a case filed before the EACJ, the East African Law Society (EALS) said Ms Mjasiri lacked the critical qualification that made her ineligible for appointment to the position.

Having attained the age of 65 and retired from the Judiciary (of Tanzania), she lacked a critical qualification ” that made her Ladyship ineligible for appointment to the office of the judge of the East African Court of Justice”, said a court notification seen by The Monitor.

EACJ is established as the supreme judicial organ of the Community mandated to interpret the Treaty and the laws governing the activities of the EAC and its organs and institutions.

Justice Sauda Mjasiri was appointed a judge of the Appellate Division of the EA Court to on February 1, 2019, an appointment the Uganda Law Society asserts does not deem fit (FILE PHOTO)

Lady Justice Mjasiri was on February 1st appointed to be a judge of the Appellate Division of the EA Court to replace a retiring judge from Tanzania Justice Edward Rutakangwa after being nominated by her government.

But the premier bar association in the region with observer status to the EAC in its court submission cited flaws which made the appointment of the Lady Justice subject to scrutiny and ineligible.

Article 24 of the EAC Treaty provides that judges of the EACJ hold office for a term of seven years and must retire upon attaining the age of 70.

“The effect of a judge joining the Court after retiring from their own jurisdiction, aside from expressly contravening the Treaty provisions, is to deny the Court opportunity to fully realize the value of the judicial officer as they soon attain the age of 70 and vacate their positions before serving their full term of seven years”, EALS argued.

The First Respondent in the case is the Attorney General of Tanzania while the Second Respondent is the Secretary General of the EAC.

Before her retirement in September last year after attaining the mandatory age of 65 last year, Lady Justice Mjasiri had gone up the ranks to the Court of Appeal of Tanzania.

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