The Challenges Facing Law via the Internet in Tanzania
- Damas Daniel Ndumbaro, Founder and Chairman, Tanzania and Zanzibar Legal Information Institute (TANZALII)
Video (starts at 9:40)
Tanzania is one of the five Countries forming the East African Community, which located between longitude 29o and 41o East, Latitude 1o and 12o South with an estimated population of about 43 million people. The country is very vast, with a total surface area of 94.3 million Swahili, which is a Bantu language, with some Arabic and Far East influence, is the main language, spoken by almost every citizen on this country. Ironically, when it comes to the law and legal systems of the country, English is the official language. Laws, statutes, court proceedings and judgements are written, pronounced and kept in English language. With a population of 42 million people, scattered across the entire country of about surface area of 94.3 million hactres, there is a huge challenge for the government to make sure that infrastructures services are spreading to all citizens all over the country. One of the challenges, specifically to this paper, is internet infrastructure. With limited internet services, spread of knowledge, particularly legal knowledge is a serious challenge.
This paper intents to discuss and share knowledge of those challenges, with, Tanzania and Zanzibar Legal Information Institute (TANZALII) is facing, in its infancy stage is an endeavour to make sure that, Tanzanians, enjoys the Free Access to law. Further, the paper wants to propose optional solutions to those challenges taking into account the trend of consumer for on line services in urban and rural Tanzania, which may be applicable to other African countries. Mobile phone services, may be the best way to have people access legal information on line or through their systems. This is a project of which TANZALII is planning to embark on researching and implementing. Further , the paper will discuss, how Swahili, which is a language widely spoken in East Africa now, brings both positive and negative impacts to the law via internet programmes and further, what are the solutions to the problems. The role played by the legal aid institute is critical to the entire aspect of free access to law in Tanzania. How those legal aid institute are formed, managed and sustained is key to ensuring free access to law in general and via internet in particular. Finally, the paper will discuss, the challenges facing African LII such as of Tanzania and Zanzibar Legal Information Institute.