PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday tasked the newly appointed Chief Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Juma, to tighten all loopholes for bribes within the judiciary.
Dr Magufuli, in the same vein, asked the judiciary, police, Prevention and Combatting of Corruption Bureau (PCCB), Tanzania Prison Service (TPS) and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to meet and deliberate on the best justice dispensing, including fast-tracking of cases.
The Head of State was speaking at the State House in Dar es Salaam few minutes after swearing-in the new CJ whom he appointed on Sunday. He decried delayed justice to citizens, asking the new head of the judiciary to look for the lasting solution on the backlogs of pending cases.
He further advocated the corruption-free judiciary. Prof Juma becomes the country’s eighth CJ, succeeding Mohamed Chande Othman who retired in January, this year. Prior to his appointment, Prof Juma was on January 8, 2017 appointed to the post on acting capacity.
Prior to the January appointment, Prof Juma served as a justice in the Court of Appeal.
He was appointed a High Court judge by former president Jakaya Kikwete in 2008 before being promoted to the Court of Appeal in 2012. He also served as the Chairman of Law Review Commission of Tanzania (LRCT).
Dr Magufuli received a scathing attack from a section of lawyers and activists when he appointed Prof Juma on acting capacity. However, the Head of State yesterday came out strongly for the first time to defend his decision.
“I wanted to have the CJ who is fit, courageous and bold enough in the war against graft and who can serve on the position for many years and Prof Juma met all the qualifications,’’ he revealed.
According to President Magufuli, there are many judges in the country, with appropriate qualifications to head the judiciary, but many of them were almost approaching the retirement age.
“I did not want to appoint the CJ today and after one year, I do another ap-1pointment ... that is why it took time to appoint the CJ,’’ he clarified. Dr Magufuli further said that he had little experience with the judicial officers, so he needed ample time to study all the judges, including Prof Juma, before confirming him.
He added that the appointment of Prof Juma had no any external forces, but it was guided by his own wish and discretion as provided in the constitution.
Dr Magufuli advised CJ Juma to put national interests ahead of anything in the course of discharging his duties, saying his appointment had a hand of God who will lead him in his new office.
“This is a tough job that needs commitment, wisdom and hardworking,’’ said Dr Magufuli.