disrespect to the Court or to honorable judges. Having thus exculpated myself, let me proceed with the task before us.
Some peculiar features
There are some peculiar features pertaining to both the way the Court of Appeal assumed jurisdiction in this case and the approach and style of the ruling. There are three featureswhich I would like to mention briefly because, to some extent, they affect my presentation of the critique.
1. Assumption of Jurisdiction
Machano and 17 other Zanzibaris were charged for treason under section 26 of the PenalDecree (Cap. 13) of Zanzibar. The charge alleged that these persons ‘by words andactions’ intended and ‘devised ways of treason in order to overthrow the Government of Zanzibar and to remove from authority the President of the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar.’ Before the High Court of Zanzibar, presided over by the then Deputy Chief Justice of Zanzibar, Tumaka, DCJ, the accused persons raised a number of preliminaryissues. One of these, which was the subject-matter of the Court of Appeal’s ruling, statedthat the offence of treason could not be committed against the Government of Zanzibar.The High Court overruled the defense on all preliminary issues. The accused personsappealed to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal heard the appeal including twoamicus curiae. Judgment was reserved but the Court indicated that they would give their judgment expeditiously. I recall reading in the papers that the presiding judge, Kisanga,J,, answering journalists who were wondering at the delay in judgment said that the casewas a very important one and required intense research.While the judgment was pending, there were elections in Zanzibar and the new President,Honourable Amani Abeid Karume, was elected. Soon after, on 7
November 2000, to be precise, the prosecutor entered
meaning that he withdrew charges, andthe accused persons were set free. Two weeks later, the ruling in the case dated 21
November, 2000 was read by the Registrar in Zanzibar. Now let me pause at this stage,and for the benefit of non-lawyers, but perhaps even lawyers, raise an obvious query.3