THERE is a legal maxim, which goes ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. In Tanzania, many things are now reformed to match the type of development we want to have as Tanzanians of having decent living for all.
There are reforms in various sectors of the economy so that we keep at pace with the middle-income economy status we have attained and maintain it even as it is five years before, as projected in the National Development Vision 2025.
All this is good news to Tanzanians who want to see that given the abundant resources we have developed accordingly and as President John Magufuli has been reiterating time and time again, Tanzania has everything it needs to be a developed country and he has been encouraging Tanzanians to work hard to realise this objective because “we have the resources and we are able to develop.”
In other sectors of the economy, things are also gaining momentum. In the administration of justice, in particular, Chief Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Hamis Juma, has been directing judges, magistrates and other judicial officers to work diligently and professionally to ensure timely access to justice.
Wherever practicable he has appealed to those responsible to opt for alternatives to incarceration to decongest prisons especially in minor offences or those criminal cases, which even after protracted investigations, substantial evidence to incriminate the accused is not forthcoming and is most probably unlikely.
Suspended sentence or community service, for instance, has been recommended for those serving jail terms for committing minor offences.
When the coronavirus pandemic plagued the world, the judiciary utilised videoconferencing court hearing to ensure pending cases in court were heard and adjudicated on without having to wait for so long.
All this has helped to reduce the caseload and enable those with pending criminal cases to be heard and their cases determined.
There have been also reforms going on in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Mr Biswalo Mganga has worked hard to ensure investigations are timely conducted and suspects are arraigned and their cases determined on time.
What he did in Kagera Region recently is a case in point. He ordered the immediate release of 185 inmates with pending criminal cases in court during his tour of Karagwe, Biharamulo, Bukoba and Muleba prisons in Kagera Region.
It is in light of this, that we want to commend reforms in the administration of justice in the country and in this case commend DDP for releasing 185 accused with pending criminal cases in court, whose incriminating evidence is not forthcoming and is most probably unlikely.
Let us keep this fire of reforms burning so that citizens are assured of legal redress or equitable relief and there is no delayed justice.