Address disputes, Biteko orders leaders

NJOMBE: THE government has called on leaders both at rural and regional levels to respect the rule of law, assist in addressing grievances of the citizens and allow each pillar of the government to work independently without interferences.

The directive was issued by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Energy, Dr Doto Biteko in Njombe on Sunday, while gracing the opening of Samia Legal Aid Campaign.

“This country is governed by a constitution that has designated its responsibilities to the central government and the judiciary has its own responsibilities and the legislature also its. “…..It should not happen that one branch wants to interfere with the responsibilities of another or others, instead all must work with the intention of serving Tanzanians, especially the vulnerable and the needy, who do not have the ability to access this legal aid,” he pointed out.

Elaborating, Dr Biteko noted that the government’s goal of deciding to come up with a legal aid campaign to reach out to citizens was after realising that many Tanzanians cannot afford the legal costs in resolving conflicts.

He said that majority of the people have disputes related to pieces of land, inheritance conflicts and poor governance at the grassroots, hence, called on leaders not to be the source of these wrangles, but help to address them.

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The Deputy Premier further said that since the campaign began countrywide, a total of 1,348 villages have been reached with over 415,590 people listened to. He detailed that out of the figure, 21,600 were men and 19,900 women, where in Njombe Region in particular, over 840 people were listened to.

To ensure that the community becomes just and equal without conflicts, Dr Biteko urged the citizens of Njombe and Tanzanians in general to take advantage of the opportunity by visiting legal experts for free advice and service.

He added that “Legal matters are cross-cutting issues that many citizens should be aware of and not wait until they face challenges and then struggle to contain.” Likewise,

Dr Biteko called on the Ministry of Constitution and Legal Affairs to fully oversee the legal aid processes and see into it that it reaches majority of the public.

He added: “May I call upon Tanzanians with various challenges and conflicts to seek legal aid, because the government is continuing to provide full cooperation that ensures that the community lives peacefully without conflicts.” Moreover, he called on legal experts to uphold honesty and provide advice and decisions to the citizens based on justice and professionalism without discriminating against anyone.

Commenting, the Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Dr Pindi Chana, said that legal aid is one of the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party’s manifesto issues to be implemented by the Sixth Phase Government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan.

Dr Chana added that in this implementation, it is the sincere intention of President Samia to bring legal aid services closer to the citizens.

On her part, the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Groups, Dr Doroth Gwajima, said that since the establishment of the legal aid service awareness has greatly helped to reduce issues of violence in the community.

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“In 2022, some 12,163 children were abused and in 2023 the number rose to 15,301 in 2023…people used to not report for fear and they did not know where to go, but now thanks to the campaign raising awareness, people are reporting,” she pointed out.

In a related development, Dr Gwajima promised to continue increasing cooperation with the Minister for Legal and Constitution Affairs to ensure that more citizens in Tanzania, especially in Njombe Region, receive the legal aid and called on the general public to come forward to report issues of violence and not to cover them up or remain silent.

Hosting the event, Njombe Region Commissioner, Anthony Mtaka, also called upon the citizens to turn up in large numbers during the 10 Days Legal Aid period, starting yesterday in the area, so that they can be served.

For his part, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Governance, Constitution and Legal Affairs, Anthony Kizito, commended President Samia for her sincere intention to bring legal aid services closer to the citizens of Njombe.

“This event is one of the revolutions and reforms that have taken place in the sixth phase administration under President Samia Suluhu Hassan,” he added. However, he urged that the legal aid service be continued to reduce grievances and conflicts the citizens experience.

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