THE Principal Judge of the High Court of Tanzania, Dr Eliezer Feleshi has directed Resident Magistrates to hear and determine cases fairly.
He reminded the magistrates to work according to the oaths they took that require them to observe justice and not make judgments based on race, religion, party, age or gender.
Dr Feleshi issued the directive, while opening training for 71 new magistrates held at the Institute of Judicial Administration (IJA) Lushoto in Tanga region.
The principal judge said that the decisions of the magistrates must be based on the law, the available evidence and court guidelines and not otherwise.
“Don't judge the cases on the basis of hatred, gossip, feelings, or impulses. Go and be part of providing solutions in areas of cases that are being complained of by the people in the primary courts,” he stressed.
Dr Feleshi mentioned the areas are those related to cases involving inheritance or administration of estates, the division of matrimonial properties, care and custody of children as well as enforcements and execution of judgments.
He said magistrates should be careful and cautious as bad decisions on those areas are harmful to special groups involving children, widows, widowers and the elderly, as well as undermining public trust in the Judiciary.
In addition, Dr Feleshi reminded the judicial officials to refrain from actions that could tarnish the image of the Judiciary such as the use of abusive language, God-honoring people, wearing unethical clothing, indecency, slander and drunkenness.
He also urged them to refrain from delaying court sessions, to interfere with or interrogate litigants in excess while proceedings are in motion, to delay giving decisions and not to provide copies of judgments, issues which are completely contrary to the ethics of judicial services.
On the other hand, the principal judge urged the new magistrates to focus on the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the electronic systems used in courts so that they could move with the pace of global change.
He reminded the officers to adhere to the proper use of language in their daily work.
"Don't stop learning language skills and developing vocabulary as most cases heard in the Primary Courts use Kiswahili language, so it will give you a wider scope to promote the official Kiswahili language," he said.
Similarly, Dr Feleshi insisted the magistrates not to isolate themselves from the people and the governing authorities at the grassroots, village, ward and divisional levels under the pretext of protecting the independence of the judiciary.
He pointed out that the leaders of those respective areas are justices of peace and also very important stakeholders of the Judiciary.
The principal judge appealed to the Resident Magistrates to determine the cases within three months and set a target of completing 260 cases per year. He said that by doing so they would achieve the primary goal of the Judiciary of observing justice to all and in time.
On her part, the Deputy Principal of the College, Ms Mwanabaraka Mnyukwa, said they would accord the training great importance having recognised that the trust given to the new magistrates needed great professionalism and integrity.
She pointed out therefore, that provision of such training was an important part of making the magistrates well equipped so that they could fulfill that role ahead of them to perfection.
“Let us remember that judging is the work of God and in the world Judge and Magistrates are the ones who have been given that responsibility. So it is our responsibility to do what God wants us to do,” stressed the deputy principal of the College.
A total of 71 new Resident Magistrates were sworn in on February 18, 2021 by the Chief Justice of Tanzania, Prof Ibrahim Juma at Karimjee Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
During the ceremony, the Chief Justice urged the new magistrates to focus on good governance, accountability, which is part of the life of judicial officers and also to be responsible in the whole concept of good resource management and timely justice, as a whole.
“We do not need money to provide timely justice and focus on good governance, accountability and resource management. These are our DNA and part of our lives. When you are assigned a case you need to make sure that you are motivated by these concepts in resolving case disputes,” he said.
The head of judiciary reminded such judicial officers that their authority was very important in resolving conflicts in the community. So he asked them to perform their judicial functions impartially and that they should know that they are not above the law or the constitution of the country.
Prof Juma reminded them that the main task of a magistrate was to make a decision, or to write a formal judgment, which is part of the Court's permanent record of the case brought before the Court.
He noted that the judgment is a decision that will remain in place for many years to come and shows how one handled the dispute, the evidence presented, and how he or she analysed the provisions of the various laws, compared them with the evidence of the opposing parties and then gave a ruling.