President Jakaya Kikwete has appointed ten judges to specifically handle pending land cases in the High Court’s Land Division in a move aimed at reducing the backlog, now estimated to be 2,200.
Chief Justice Mohamed Othman Chande is optimistic that the cases will be reduced substantially by the appointed judges, who have been assigned to do the job in the next three months.
Kikwete named the ten judges as Francis Mutungi, John Mgeta, Patricia Fikirini, Sam Rumanyika, Salvatory Bongole, Gerald Ndika, Mathew Mwaimu, Jacobs Mwambegele, Joacquine De-Mello and Latifah Mansoor.
The president swore in the appointees yesterday at a function held at State House grounds in Dar es Salaam.
Chande said with only four judges, the High Court (Land Division) in Dar es Salaam was overwhelmed and the cases were piling up.
He said following the appointment and subsequent swearing in, the judges would be re-assigned to different parts of the country. “The judges will for the first three months deal with land disputes in order to reduce a number of pending cases,” he said.
Meanwhile, the CJ said plans were underway to install a new system that would enable Tanzanians access court information through mobile phones. He said the system would enable the general public to get basic information on case mentioning dates as well as time and names of presiding judges.
Chande said the system would first be applicable for cases filed at the High Court and the Court of Appeal before replicating it in lower courts.
Interviewed after taking oath of office, some of the assigned judges promised to work collaboratively to ensure equal justice to everyone.
Patricia Fikirini promised to speed up case hearings so that people would get justice. And Francis Mutungi, said he would make sure that “Tanzanians’ thirt for justice is quenched.