PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has stressed on the need for adherence to principles of good governance and rule of law towards attainment of equal distribution of socio-economic benefits of the citizenry within any country.
The Head of State was of a view that economic progress that does not take into account principles of rule of law and basic rights of people cannot be sustainable, because it will not reflect the real life of ordinary citizens.
The Tanzanian leader made the remarks in Arusha yesterday, while officiating at the 27th annual conference of the East Africa Law Society (EALS) which is being held with the theme: “Fostering East African Unity and Diversity in a Globalised Practice Environment.”
“If a country is prospering economically with impressive GDP (gross domestic product) and everything looks rosy in higher levels, but there is no good governance I wish that country not to be part of the East African Community,” Ms Samia stressed.
President Samia noted further that every Tanzanian and all East Africans have an obligation of fostering good governance and protecting human rights.
“In my life, I have never seen any country which has attained significant economic reforms by disparaging the rule of law,” she declared.
Adding; “Any economic progress attained through ill means and non-observance of basic human rights cannot be sustainable.” Ms Samia went on to note that observance of rule of law is a must for every country.
“If the government is for the people, it means it has been elected into power by the citizens and as such it must adhere to principles of good governance and rule of law,” Ms Samia told delegates at the conference, which started on Wednesday and set to end tomorrow (Saturday).
President Samia was proud that Tanzania is among countries which adhere to principles of good governance, pledging that her government will strive to build a country with democracy, equality and economic progress.
“That is why in Tanzania we have come up with four Rs; that is reconciliation, resilience, reform and rebuilding. We have started with reconciliation among political parties and that is why you see Tanzania is in good shape,” she told delegates at the conference.
Ms Samia urged EALS to work hand in hand with bar associations in all member states of the EAC in order to foster rule of law in the regional grouping.
However, she admitted that the government has been, in most cases, not using private lawyers, hence called on lawyers’ associations to assess themselves and identify gaps leading to government shunning them.
“Tanzania, for the past four years we have been with Tanzania Law Society (TLS) which in reality was not for lawyers but activists whose focus was to fight against the government, so how do you engage them in the government. If I see you as my enemy, I will not engage you, you would use all international laws and I would use domestic laws to stop you,” he told the gathering.
She urged the lawyers who would wish to work with the government to go with clean hands for them to be received by the government with clean hands for working together.
She went on warning the lawyers against manipulating laws with intent to deny justice to those who deserve it and give those who do not deserve it.
“You should get rid of this kind of foul play to deny justice to those who deserve. We did assessment in prisons and established that there is equal ratio between number of detainees and prisoners. We further found that many of them were jailed while they were innocent,” she stressed.
She added: “…Let me ask you to do law engineering justly. It’s only when there is justice the nation flourishes, even the Holy Books say so, stand for the justice,” she said.
Speaking about the East African Community (EAC), she remarked that the bloc was healthy and she was proud of the way she worked together with Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in resolving several trade barriers between Tanzania and Kenya, as a result the trade has significantly grown.
Earlier, Deputy Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Mr Geofrey Pinda, encouraged lawyers in the country to join the EALS for them to market themselves regionally and exchange skills and experiences.
“Nowadays, we have the issue of regional free market and we think of having EAC single currency, all these need legal experts to achieve them, so you need to be participants not onlookers,” he challenged.
On his part, president of the EALS, Mr Bernard Haundo, said the society believes that the success in the EAC countries would be a result of its citizens, including lawyers, to unite.