MIXED feelings have greeted Tundu Lissu’s landslide victory in the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) General Election held here yesterday.
Lissu, who is the Singida-East Member of Parliament (MP) on Chadema ticket and an outspoken member of the Bar Association, emerged winner of the highlycoveted TLS Chairperson position, during polls that crowned the TLS Annual Conference and General Meeting 2017, held for four days at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC).
As the 50-year-old, Tundu Antiphas Mughwai Lissu beat other contenders of the top seat by amassing more than 80 per cent of the total votes cast, his victory has been received with mixed feelings from observers here.
A section of observers interviewed by the ‘Sunday News’ wondered whether the highly-respected Bar Association is going to balance between active party biased politics and stable legal practice. Commenting on the victory, Advocate of the High Court of Tanzania, Dr Damas Ndumbaro, said it was the decision of the Bar Association members which should be respected.
“Though it is very hard for him (Lissu) to draw a line between his political responsibilities and those of TLS,” he noted. Dr Ndumbaro also cautioned that it was too early to judge his performance as he will be president for a year; hence it was important to give him time.
He further said that Mr Lissu needs to be keen in implementing his duties as TLS President since some members are not affiliated to any political party, thus abiding to the TLS Act was crucial. Another member of the Bar Association, Frank Mushi, said in that implementing his duties as TLS President, he must oblige to TLS Act of 2006 and not otherwise.
“There is a possibility that while implementing his duties some people may fail to understand, in which capacity he is carrying out the duties whether as a politician or TLS President,” he told the ‘Sunday News’ in a telephone interview.
Mr Mushi said there might be breach of peace somewhere in the country and for Lissu to come out defending it while fulfilling his duties as TLS President, according to section 4 (e) of its Act, might be misconstrued by some people as a political move.
Mr Lissu reportedly raked in 1,411 votes out of the 1,682 cast during the election, while his closest contestant Ms Victoria Mandari earned 176 votes. But, the one-time TLS Chairperson, Mr Francis Stolla got 64 while Mr Godwin Mwapongo Announcing the results, overseer of the elections, Dr Kibuta Ongwamuhana named the TLS Vice- Chair as Advocate Godwin Gwilimi who got 1,269.
The TLS Council Members were listed as Hussein Mtebwa, Lambaji Madali, Jeremiah Mtobesa, Aisha Sinde, Steven Aweso, Meddline Kimei and Godluck Walter. TLS is a Bar Association for the Mainland Tanzania, which was founded in 1954 by an Act of Parliament - theTanganyika Law Society Ordinance of 1954.
TLS is currently governed by the Tanganyika Law Society Act, Cap 307 R.E. 2002, which repealed the earlier legislation.
The Bar Association’s mandate includes; maintaining and improving the standards of conduct and learning of the legal profession in Tanzania; facilitating the acquisition of legal knowledge by members of the legal profession and to assist the government and the courts in all matters affecting legislation and administration and practice of the law in the country.
TLS’ other task is to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in regards to conditions of practice while also safeguarding and supporting the general public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the law.