Judge Mihayo touts rule of law

JUSTICE Thomas Mihayo (rtd) has warned against breaching the rule of law, saying it could have huge economic consequences, such as scaring off potential investors.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam over the weekend, Justice Mihayo emphasised the need for public officials to embrace the principle of separation of power and adhere to laid down legal procedures in the execution of their duties.

He made the remarks in response to the recently much-debated planned merger between Scancem International DA and Tanga Cement, saying he felt the urge to make clarification since the saga has drawn a lot of public interest.

Justice Mihayo opined that there was a likely misinterpretation of the restraint orders issued by the Fair Competition Tribunal with regards to planned acquisition of Tanga Cement by Scancem International DA.

“The court indefinitely restrained the merger and has not changed its decision, so the only way for the ministry would be to go back to the court so that it could review and vacate the case,” he stated.

“(Occasionally) the court may make a wrong decision, and if you think that is the case, what you do is not to disregard the decision but you appeal or seek review,” he insisted.

Last month, the government, through the Ministry of Industry and Trade, blessed the proposed merger at second attempt amid protest from a section of politicians and players in the cement industry.

Explaining the government’s decision to approve the deal, Trade and Investment Minister Ashatu Kijaji told the National Assembly that the approved proposal was different from the initial one that was successfully protested at Fair Competition Tribunal (FCT) by the Consumer Advocacy Society and Chalinze Cement, which has since been deregistered.

Explaining the government’s decision, Dr Kijaji said the new merger proposal met legal requirements and that investment conditions in the cement market had changed ever since the initial application was lodged.

“We respect the laws of the country, and that is why we did not deal with the decision quashed by the FCT. We only worked on the fresh application,” she said.

“The law allows a company to reapply for merger or acquisition, regardless of the first decision around the first application,” said Dr Kijaji.

Justice Mihayo insisted that having a clear separation of power and strict adherence to the rule of law are one of the most important factors when it comes to attracting potential investors, and warned against a hair-splitting mentality.

The former chairman of the National Electoral Commission, said a disregard to the separation of power could have a negative impact on the country’s investment drive by scaring off potential investors.

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