October 16, 2003

Commonwealth urges faster judicial reform

The Commonwealth, in its capacity of coordinator of the political reconciliation process on Zanzibar, has urged reform of the Judiciary and faster implementation of the Muafaka Agreement signed between two leading political parties on the Tanzanian island.

A Commonwealth legal system was introduced to Zanzibar in January 1985. The reform of the judiciary and the ZEC are two fundamental elements of Muafaka, which was signed in October 2001 by Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party and the opposition Civic United Front. The agreement followed the police killing in January 2001 of some 35 opposition party supporters on the Tanzanian island of Pemba, during protests over the flawed elections the previous year.

Other elements of the agreement, intended to bring political harmony to the politically divided islands, are the establishment of the permanent voters register, a review of the constitution and electoral laws, reform of the publicly owned media and ensuring freedom of political activity. (IRIN)

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