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Cleophas Maheri Motiba vs United Republic of Tanzania

On September 14th, 2016, Mr. Cleophas Maheri Motiba, (the Applicant) filed an application instituting proceedings against the United Republic of Tanzania (the defendant State) before the African Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the ACHPR or the Court) for alleged violations of the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Charter) in its articles  2, 3, 7 and 15.

The applicant was an official of the Ministry of Finance of Tanzania, who worked in one of the tax collection directorates. However, in 1995, all these directorates were dissolved and replaced by an independent public service (the TRA). He was initially employed by the new structure before being dismissed. Despite his numerous appeals to the national courts, the applicant claims not to have been reinstated or received his legally due allowances.

On November 21st, 2019, the Republic of Tanzania deposited the instruments of withdrawal of the Court’s declaration of jurisdiction to receive applications from individuals and non-governmental organizations. In issuing its decision on September 22nd, 2022, the Court has been faithful to its consistent jurisprudence of dealing with all cases enrolled in the Registry before the date of entry into force of the withdrawal of the declaration. 

As a preliminary point, Tanzania raised objections relating to the lack of jurisdiction of the Court and inadmissibility of the application. After examining the matters, the Court concluded that the case was admissible and declared itself competent to hear it. It then turned to the merits of the case; 

As regards, first, the alleged violation of his right to work (Article 15 of the Charter), the applicant submits, first, that the termination of his employment contract was unlawful in so far as he was not informed of the real reason for his dismissal and, second, that the conditions for his “transfer” had not been complied with. Tanzania replies that not only were the reasons for his dismissal “in the public interest” highlighted in his letter of dismissal, but that the applicant had also failed to demonstrate how the conditions of his transfer had not been in accordance with the legal provisions. After examining the materials presented in the lawsuit, the Court concluded that there was nothing in the file to suggest that the applicant’s dismissal was unlawful and had not been carried out in accordance with the relevant procedures. Moreover, there is no evidence that he was employed by TRA. Tanzania therefore did not violate the complainant’s right to work.

As regards, next, the alleged violation of his right to a fair trial (Article 7 of the Charter), the Applicant claims that the domestic courts were not impartial, that he was not tried within a reasonable time and that some evidence produced by the defendant was not taken into consideration. The respondent State replies that Mr. Motiba never raised the question of the impartiality of the domestic courts, that given the circumstances of the case, the case had been dealt with within a reasonable time and that the courts and tribunals had not ruled either infra petita or ultra petita. In its judgment, the Court concluded that nothing in the documents produced suggested that the rules and procedures put in place had not been respected, that on average the courts seised had ruled on the merits of the case after 3 years, which did not constitute for the Court an unreasonable period of time and finally that the Courts had ruled on all the grounds of appeal in front of them. 

Again with regard to the alleged violation of his right to equality before the law and equal protection of the law (Article 2 of the Charter), the applicant submits that the fact that he was not considered an employee of the TRA by the domestic courts and that the witness he called could not be testified. Tanzania denies these allegations. The Court agreed with the respondent State.

Finally, with regard to the alleged violation of his right to non-discrimination (Article 2 of the Charter), the Court concluded that there was no reason to believe that the applicant’s right to non-discrimination had been violated.

Judgment of 22-09-2022.pdf

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.

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