Tanzania: suspended lawyer Fatma Karume hints at joining politics

Sunday September 22 2019

Prominent lawyer and former Tanganyika Law

Prominent lawyer and former Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) President who was on Friday suspended from practicing in Tanzania Mainland, Ms Fatma Karume 

By Louis Kolumbia @Collouis1999 lkolumbia@tz.nationmedia.com

Dar es Salaam. Prominent lawyer and former Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) President who was on Friday suspended from practicing in Tanzania Mainland, Ms Fatma Karume, is considering to venture into politics.

The High Court in Dar es Salaam on Friday, September 20, temporarily suspended Ms Karume from practising in Mainland Tanzania over the remarks she made in her submission in a case challenging the appointment of Prof Adelardus Kilangi as Attorney General (AG) of Tanzania.

Fatma Karume is the lawyer in a case filed by Mr Ado Shaibu, ACT-Wazalendo’s ideology, publicity and public communications secretary and the respondent is President John Magufuli.

 In the affidavit, Mr Shaibu argues that the appointment of Prof Kilangi was unconstitutional.

Fatma  Karume, made her submission on Friday when the case came up for hearing which contained the arguments against the appointment of Prof Kilangi, part of which the court ruled was “inappropriate” and has, therefore, taken a decision to suspended her.

But in a video clip circulating in social media on Sunday, September 22, 2019, Ms Karume is depicted as saying that the court’s decision was deliberate move to ensure that she does not represent the constitutional cases in court.

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“Probably God wants me to go for something else. Probably, advocacy is no more a place I'm supposed to be. May be I'm supposed to be in politics…,” she says.

She says the suspension gives her time to reflect over her next course of action.

“A lot of people have advised me to join politics. I wasn’t supporting the idea because I thought I could bring changes through the legal sector. The court is telling me ‘Don’t try, otherwise you will be removed, that is the message sent to me,” she says.

Contacted for comment, Ms Karume insisted that she was reflecting on the next step to make in case the court doors remain closed for her to bring her ‘admired changes’.

Her suspension from practice has elicited an uproar, with TLS saying it has summoned an urgent meeting over the matter.

Separately, the Judiciary’s Chief Registrar, Ms Katarina Revocati said the doors were open for Ms Karume to lodge her dissatisfaction with the punishment meted against her.

Ms Revocati said it would be unethical for her to comment on the substance of the suspension as the court had already made its pronouncement.

“But there are procedures for one to submit dissatisfaction over a given court decision and the doors are open for Ms Karume’s case,” she said.

TLS president Rugemeleza Nshala said the bar received the news of the suspension of its immediate former President with “shock and sadness.”

He said the decision was unacceptable and that the TLS Governing Council will convene a meeting in the coming three days to consider the appropriate response.