Feb 26, 2007

Zanzibar: Justice in Focus

The President of Zanzibar has outlined his ideas for strengthening democracy and human right in the country, placing justice firmly in the centre.

Below is an article written by Issa Yussuf and published by IPP Media.com;


Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume has said that securing legal services is a great benchmark in the development and growth of democracy and human rights in the country.

Opening a workshop on strengthening the legal profession in Zanzibar yesterday, Karume noted that `It is when we get justice that these two things become a reality.`

The two-day workshop, which ends today, was organized by the Zanzibar Legal Service Centre (ZLSC) as part of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the centre.

`In the case of justice, there are times when disadvantaged people through manipulation of the judiciary by unscrupulous people or inability to meet the costs of hiring lawyers, are denied their rights,` President Karume said.

He said that in such a situation, injustice prevails and the very tenets of justice are weakened and the people lose faith in democracy and the law, `the two fundamentals of human rights.`

The President said that the society as a whole must recognize and accept that the accessibility of justice is a vocation and duty.

Karume said: Every one of us in the society, be it the police, residential locality, the court clerk, the religious leader, the representative of the people, the government official, or an NGO leader, has the obligation to play a part in ensuring that justice is our creed and no person is ever denied it at any time, place or occasion.”

Participants in the workshop, mainly legal practitioners, commended the President`s speech.

This is particularly pertinent now, as Zanzibar is battling to reshape it image after several years of a human rights abuses perpetrated during elections by some security officers.

ZLSCs role in the past 15 years has included delivery of legal services mainly to the poor, and also pressing for legal practices and respect of human rights and good governance through seminars and electronic media programmes.