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Who is the architect of Zanzibar Judiciary?

Who is the architect of Zanzibar Judiciary?

To me what is needed is just to bring these people together, which the US embassy has always been instrumental in achieving this. It is always amazing how people are connected through colleagues and friends. One thing that I admire most with the Martin Luther event is the level of networking that is possible, since it brings people from all walks of life together.

The diversity that I saw on Thursday at the ceremony is the showcase of unity of the people of Tanzania. Religious and political tolerance was part of it. This event brought together politicians, academicians, spiritual leaders, students, journalists, diplomats and many others. The recipient of the Award this year is the Chief Justice retired, Mr Augustino Ramadhani, a son of Tanzania who has three important attributes that are manifested in his life.

He is a justice, military professional and spiritual leader. Justice Ramadhani stands out from the crowd by the mere fact that he has been accomplished in all the three fields and has served in the same capacity both in Zanzibar and Mainland. When receiving the Award at a grand ceremony held at the embassy, he as usual appeared humble and down to earth.

He has passion for justice, in everything he has done in his life. Justice Ramadhani says that he was always an admirer of Dr Martin Luther, and was happy that he was chosen to receive Dr Martin’s Award. Justice Ramadhani’s humbleness is manifested in his quote from Shakespeare (Qoute Act II, Scene V) where he said: “ Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” As a man of God, Justice Ramadhani always gives credit where it deserves.

He brought into light the contribution of the former president of Zanzibar, Mr Aboud Jumbe who was the first person to identify him and brought him on board in the judiciary in Zanzibar. With great humbleness he said that: “Mr Jumbe had thrust upon me that greatness.” But the fact that Justice Ramadhani has accomplished a lot in this world tells it all, that he was born a great leader. His family history which was presented at the ceremony shows that his family was also accomplished. His father was a great scholar.

But why was the former president able to identify Justice Ramadhani? It is no doubt that Mr Jumbe was also a great leader. One legacy of promoting justice from scratch in Zanzibar is what both Justice Ramadhani and Mr Jumbe are sharing and it will go down the history lane. Zanzibar after the revolution had gone through a lot. There was not an adequate legal system which was a great concern on all those who are proponents of human rights.

For example inorder to see justice done to the people where there was no judiciary system in place, it was important to bring on board a personality like Justice Ramadhani, who could walk in people’s shoes. He is known by many Zanzibaris that he opened his doors to everyone who was bold enough to go and see him or ask for his support during all his tenure in office.

One can imagine how the situation was in Zanzibar after the 1964 Revolution. It was obvious that the people who sat on the bench in the courts were using wisdom to resolve legal matters rather than the laws. But the challenge that was thrown to Justice Ramadhani then by the former president to set up a legal system from scratch was a daring and very difficult task.

When receiving the Award a group of judiciary officials and people who worked with him both in Zanzibar and the Mainland were present to show their solidarity with him. Many Tanzanians can take lessons from Justice Ramadhani who is a mentor and a leader of the people. He has left behind a team of legal experts who reflect that his legacy will remain in the corridors of judiciary and beyond.

He however is still active in Africa and world over on promotion of justice. But even important to know is how a man of his calibre who served in so many capacities both in the country and abroad has shown a high degree of professionalism and moral values. He speaks passionately with a lot of conviction on the issue of justice delayed is justice denied. He told reporters after receiving the Award that people should resist to pay bribes, even if such unscrupulous officials demand them.

“If people will refrain from giving bribe, the corruption will come to an end. No matter how much justice is delayed, one day the victim will be granted his/her rights,” he stressed. He did not mince his words when he was asked by the reporters on the state of primary courts. He said openly that they need to continue undergoing reforms. He is known for his stance in sticking to morals and professionalism.

When you look at Justice Ramadhani, it is clear that he is leading a humble life with his family. I could see that many people were inspired by his courage and honesty. How many of us can be ready to share an Award with others. How many of us can speak the truth that I should not have achieved such and such credit had it not been for someone behind the scene?

But the most important lesson is that if one fears God and counts that there is a day of judgement, it is easy for such a person to recognize other people’s contributions to his/ her life. This is a cross-cutting issue for all Abrahamic religions. Imagine even the US embassy could not have expected that a frail Dr Aboud Jumbe, now confined in his residence was the architect of a judiciary system in Zanzibar that today we are all proud of.

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Author: JAFFAR MJASIRI

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