During an event Tuesday, President of the United Republic of Tanzania John Magufuli appealed to the country’s judiciary to make court judgments more accessible to the people of Tanzania by publishing them in Kiswahili (also known as Swahili) rather than English. Magufuli argued that writing court judgments in English rather than Kiswahili “deprives citizens of their rights” and creates additional charges, such as paying for an interpretation. Magufuli called Kiswahili “one of the largest languages in the world” and called for the development of a strategy to interpret old laws and create new laws in Swahili.
Magufuli made this statement at a national law day celebration during which he appointed Justice Galeba from the Musoma Regional High Court “for using Kiswahili in sentencing in the North Mara Gold Mine case against Gerald Nzumbi in Review Case no. 23 of 2020.” Magufuli called Justice Galeba’s devotion to using the Kiswahili language an act of patriotism, nominating Galeba to the Court of Appeals, the highest court in Tanzania.
Magufuli proceeded in his speech to discuss delays in court proceedings, citing cases which have yet to be resolved after five years; to urge the Ethics Committees of Regional and District Court Officers to ensure the integrity of court staff; and to celebrate the completion of the construction of several high court buildings which are more accessible to the citizens of Tanzania.
In continuing to make court proceedings more accessible to the people, the Tanzania courts will also begin construction on 25 district court buildings throughout the country, to “reduce the burden on citizens who are forced to access services in the surrounding district courts.”