President John Pombe Magufuli on Monday, February 1 promoted High Court judge Zephrine Galeba to be Justice of the Court of Appeal of Tanzania. This is after the judge delivered a judgement in Kiswahili.
The president announced his decision while officiating the Law Day celebration in Dodoma.
He described Justice Galeba as a hero within the Judiciary for departing from the existing rules after writing the judgement in the national language.
“Using Kiswahili in the legal system was not a sin. This one has come out in public.
“I know a lot was said about his decision. Thank you Chief Justice, you did not punish him. He has become the first nationalist to write a judgement in Kiswahili language.” he said
The president also pointed out that it was time to put in place strategies that would enable the Swahili language to be used in court and legal matters in general at all levels.
He further explained that the failure to use Kiswahili in legal issues had not only deprived citizens of their rights but also increased the cost for them to look for interpreters.
Justice Galaba’s use of Kiswahili in writing the judgement has been described as a positive response to the call by the government for the judiciary of Tanzania to switch the country’s legal system and legal materials from English to Kiswahili.
Galeba delivered his judgement in Kiswahili when determining a labour dispute involving North Mara Gold Mine Limited and a former employee. Mr Gerald Nzumbi.
He dismissed the application for revision presented in court by the North Mara company to oppose an award given in favour of Mr Nzumbi the commission for Mediation and Arbitration (CMA).
Speaking at the same occasion Chief Justice, Ibrahim Juma, acknowledged that the language barrier could abstract the application of laws in a specific situation.