Mwakyembe tells lawyers to go ethical

27Feb 2016
Edward Qorro
The Guardian
Mwakyembe tells lawyers to go ethical

The government has expressed concern over some ethical violations rampant in the country’s judiciary, appealing to legal practitioners to refrain from fueling the vice.

Minister for Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Justice, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe

At issue is a corruption in the routine issuance of legal practicing certificates, allegedly given randomly to individuals who do not necessarily meet the professional requisites.

Minister for Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Justice, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe said the double standards that shrouded the profession ought to be fought and that professional knowledge was not enough in granting one a certificate.

He said personal ethical state of affairs of a professional practitioner should be considered requisite for a potential lawyer a practicing certificate.

“Practicing certificates are given to everybody satisfying the requirements, well and good…but is it fair, is it doing justice the people around us seeing government employees working as private advocates,” queried the minister yesterday while officiating the annual conference and the general meeting of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) in Arusha.

Citing an example, the minister wondered as to how a Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) employee in an administrative district with a practicing certificate played the role of a prosecutor in court on Monday against people accused of corruption.

He said the same officer appeared in the same court the following, wielding his practicing certificate to stand in defense of a person accused of rape and causing grievous bodily harm on a person.

“Sadly, the magistrates and advocates are quiet. In fact they even call him to hold briefs for them in cases requiring wide legal knowledge,” he said.

He also challenged TLS into cultivating keen interest in legal proceedings at primary courts level with a view to sharing expert knowledge with the judiciary and the government.

He said it was important for the lawyers to keep up with the pace of changing political dynamics in the country while discharging their duties.

The minister however acknowledged that despite enormous efforts by the judiciary to closely monitor, facilitate and get things moving, it was still faced by an acute shortage of infrastructure to accommodate the courts.

“Ideally the principle is, one primary court in one administrative ward, but the reality is out of 3,957 wards, only 976 have such courts, including those in extremely bad shapes,” he noted.

He said through its limited resources, the judiciary was still bold enough in embarking on ambitious rehabilitation and construction exercise of primary courts after President John Magufuli directed the treasury to give courts their entire budgeted development fund.

Dr Mwakyembe also heaped praise on lawyers following their decision of deferring the 2016 half annual general meeting budget to support the construction of Wakili House, a building that will house TLS’s offices.
The lawyers raised Sh271m to support the building.

On his part, the outgoing TLS President Charles Rwechungura said the conference entailed at reflecting on the journey the society has gone throughout the 60 years of its existence in the country.

“As lawyers we have a very crucial role to play in the society in pursuit of discharging justice, which is why we are here to take stock of the 60 years, and where we intend to take our society,” he addressed the delegation of 2000 plus lawyers gathered at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) Simba Hall.