The launch this week of a campaign to raise awareness on the availability of and accessibility to free legal aid services is a welcome move.
Millions of poor Tanzanians stand to benefit from such an initiative – considering the fact that many of them do not know where to go or who to turn to when they are faced with legal problems. Some suffer in silence when they are victimised while others serve jail terms for crimes they did not commit.
The lack of access to legal aid is still a major problem in Tanzania – where ironically we are told there are no less than 2,000 paralegals.
It’s unfortunate that due to lack of awareness, many people suffer yet help is not far away. The Legal Service Facility (LSF), which is spearheading this campaign, seeks to ensure that the right to justice and legal representation is not just on paper, but a reality for every Tanzania.
This is an initiative that is worth emulating. There are various other legal stakeholders who can chip in and help push this campaign further. For instance, business, local government leaders and Members of Parliament across the country can play a significant role to help drive this noble campaign.