If – as we are told – the spread of the new coronavirus infection picks up tempo in gatherings, then judicial proceedings in some courts in Tanzania can take that threat in stride.
This is basically because, long before the pandemic – codenamed ‘Covid-19’ – surfaced in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of December last year, the Judiciary in Tanzania had ‘gone digital,’ embracing e-Justice.
To that end, the government put in place rules for electronic/e-registration of court cases with effect from April 13, 2018.
In the event, the Judiciary has already installed the requisite state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure at the Main High Court Registry in Dar es Salaam, as well as the High Court Registries in Mbeya and Bukoba. Also, e-Justice equipment has been installed at the Kisutu Training Centre in Dar es Salaam and the Lushoto Judicial College in Tanga Region, as well as at the Keko and Segerea prisons in Dar es Salaam.
As reported in these pages yesterday, the Judiciary is working on electronically conducting court proceedings and video-conferencing, thereby eliminating the need for physical presence of the participants, including the accused – be they in remand prison or out on bail.
Apart from reducing public expenses – as well as simplifying and speeding up justice delivery while bringing court proceedings and related developments closer to the people – use of modern technologies like e-Justice also has the added benefit of avoiding gatherings, thereby saving people from contagious diseases like the Covid-19 pandemic.
We earnestly are in total agreement with the government’s 5-Year Plan to simplify, streamline and otherwise improve justice delivery in particular, and the judicial system in general.
As the Chief Justice, Prof Ibrahim Juma, said recently, “this is the time to show quality leadership in helping Tanzanians to continue getting just, legal services in a world that’s currently plagued by the coronavirus (pandemic).”