Tanzanian parliament passes bill that provides immunity against lawsuits to President, heads of state organs


Tanzanian parliament passes bill that provides immunity against lawsuits to President, heads of state organs

In Summary

  • The Tanzanian Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that provides immunity to heads of state organs from lawsuits.
  • The provision seeks to discontinue filing of cases against the President, the Vice President, Prime Minister, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and instead, demands that petitions of such nature be presented to the Attorney General.
  • The amendment to the constitution if inked, will give the High Court powers to dismiss and reject cases of such nature.

The Tanzanian Parliament on Wednesday passed a bill that provides immunity to heads of state organs from lawsuits.

The provision seeks to discontinue filing of cases against the President, the Vice President, Prime Minister, the Speaker, Deputy Speaker and instead, demands that petitions of such nature be presented to the Attorney General.

The amendment to the constitution if inked, will give the High Court powers to dismiss and reject cases of such nature.

The bill which was voted in by a majority of MPs was however opposed viciously by the opposition who claim the bill flies in the face of constitutional rights and accountability.

Those opposing the bill said the proposed the Written Law (Miscellaneous Amendment) (No. 3) of 2020 would set a dangerous precedent for Parliament to tamper with the country’s cornerstones: peace, unity and democracy.

The country’s National Assembly however approved the bill which amends 13 different laws pending its inking by President Magufuli.

Some of the amended laws include the Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement Act (1994) – by introducing restrictions on filing cases related to violation of constitutional rights.

The amendment states that “An application under this section shall not be admitted by the High Court unless it is accompanied by an affidavit stating the extent to which the contravention of provisions of articles 12 to 29 of the constitution has affected such person personally.”

Under the bill, Human Rights groups will not longer be able to file suits against the government and heads of state organs on behalf of aggrieved parties.

Also amended was the Judiciary Administration Act which extends immunity to judicial officers in case they “err in good faith” while delivering judgement.

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Story By Tonny Ndungu
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