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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Perspectives on Tanzania's Non-Formal Systems of Justice
Author:Bisimba, Kijo
Year:2002
Periodical:East African Journal of Peace and Human Rights (ISSN 1021-8858)
Volume:8
Issue:1
Pages:83-96
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Tanzania
East Africa
Subjects:customary law
conflict of laws
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
law
judicial system
Justice, Administration of
imperialism
Abstract:In colonial times Tanzania was governed by a 'Dual System' of justice: that is, some areas of justice still fell under customary law, whereas in other fields English law was applied. Native Courts were set up to deal with what were deemed 'native laws'. Before colonization, mainland Tanzania comprised 120 ethnic groups at different stages of development. Rather than make a general study, the author confines himself to two systems at work in the Nyamatare Ward of Ikongoro Division in Serengiti District, Mara Region. These are the 'Sungusungu' system which was followed by the Sukuma people and the Ritongo system which governs law among the Kurya and Ngereme people. His conclusion is that both systems have contributed to containment of crime around the lake zone, but the modern system was far more open to abuse. The 1980s and 1990s were periods of great social unrest in the Serengiti District. Crimes peaked which led people to take matters into their own hands and to reinstitute traditional systems to their former glory. Many issues do no go far before the accused either confesses or repents. The worst punishment which can be imposed on recalcitrants is to pronounce the offender and family members outcasts. Just as it is quite evident that the formal system falls short of providing adequate justice, it is an indubitable fact that traditional systems can be very efficacious in obtaining justice. Even so, both systems have their own strengths and weaknesses and should both be studied in more depth to obtain proper clarification. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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