Yes, equal justice under the law is surely the most dependable guardian of liberty, and it ought to be championed most vigorously and all the time.
That is precisely why we will always subscribe to efforts meant to ensure as fair a deal as possible for all our people with respect to all aspects of life.
Fortunately, that is as provided for under our country’s Constitution, though we keep experiencing a hiccup here and a stammer there when it comes to actual implementation of the letter and spirit of this “mother law” and the various other pieces of legislation.
It is also something to be grateful about that there is often ample opportunity for the citizenry to contribute to debate seeking to enrich strategies seeking to make our laws more relevant to our people’s demands, needs, expectations and aspirations as well as keep abreast of social, political, economic and other developments elsewhere in the world.
We find these considerations especially important and relevant as it is acknowledged that laws are not set in stone and are therefore not eternally static but must keep adjusting themselves to changes in the various aspects of human development and civilisation.
In this particular respect, we are both attracted and inspired by efforts by a coalition of more than 60 Tanzanian civil society organisations crusading for the right of small producers in our country to legally own and develop land.
Reports and public notices in the media show that the coalition – Tanzania Land Alliance (TALA) – brings together the likes of Land Rights Research and Resources Institute (better known as HakiArdhi), Legal and Human Rights Centre, Lawyers Environmental Action Team, Pastoralists Indigenous NGOs Forum, Women Legal Aid Centre, Ujamaa Community Resource Team, and a national network of farmers’ groups.
We have learnt that the thrust of the coalition’s efforts is on devising and implementing legislative reforms that will result in improvements to the country’s land tenure system and, by logical extension, keep the prevalence of land disputes to the barest minimum.
We have further learnt that the coalition has made a detailed analysis of four laws relating to village and urban land ownership and development and come up with a raft of proposed amendments it has already passed on to the relevant government ministry for consideration.
Even more importantly, TALA has deemed it appropriate not only to turn the proposed amendments into public information but also to appeal to the public to complement its efforts by way of contributing views on the recommendations made as well as on any other pieces of legislation they feel strongly about but which the coalition has yet to work on.
Inviting dialogue between legal gurus on the one hand and ordinary citizens on the other is a splendid way to go about sprucing up the laws of the land, which would eventually mean moving closer to the realisation of true justice for all. We applaud the move.
To steal from Robert F. Kennedy: “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.”