Legal setback for Zanzibar secessionists
Publish date: 12 March 2018
Issue Number: 765
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
The East African Court of Justice has struck out two applications submitted by a lobby group seeking the separation of Tanzania’s isles from its mainland on the grounds that it failed to adhere to procedure. The East African reports that the group is seeking to have the hearing held in Zanzibar instead of Arusha for security and financial reasons. However, the court accepted government's plea to reject the request over the inability of the lobby group’s representative, Rashid Salum Adiy, to speak fluent English. Principal Judge Monica Mugenyi said she could not allow Adiy to address the court in Kiswahili, as Article 46 of the EAC Treaty recognises English as the official language of the bloc. ‘There's no room for interpretation,’ she ruled. The secession campaigners are appealing to the court to declare the Articles of Union between the Republic of Tanganyika and the People's Republic of Zanzibar null and void because ‘they were not duly executed and sanctioned by both substantive and procedural law’.