Fatma Karuma was yesterday elected president of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), replacing Tundu Lissu, who has been hospitalized since surviving an assassination attempt seven months ago.
Official results were expected to be announced late last night or early today, but reports from Arusha where the TLS presidential election held confirmed Fatma’s victory.
Fatma, (pictured) who is the daughter of former Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume, is a partner at the Dar es Salaam IMMA Advocates.
She becomes only the second female president of the bar association of mainland Tanzania in its entire history. TLS was founded in 1954 by the Act of parliament.
The 48year old Fatma defeated three other candidates who were vying for the TLS presidency; Godwin Mwapongo, Godfrey Wasonga, and Godwin Ngwilimi.
Rugemeleza Nshala, executive director of the lawyers’ Environment Action Team (LEAT), who holds a Ph.D. in Law from the Havard Law School, was elected Vice President of TLS.
Fatma, who holds a Master’s degree in Law (LLM) from the London Schoool of Economics, is known as vocal human rights defender.
The former TLS president, Tundu lissu, managed to serve five months before being shot multiple times in Dodoma by unknown assailants in September 7 last year.
Ahead of the election of the TLS president, Lissu issued a statement thanking fellow lawyers for putting their trust in him.
“You gave me the opportunity to serve you for one term of twelve months. However, thanks to assassins’ bullets, that term was cut by seven months. I can only hope and trust that you found some worthy things during my brief tour of duty,” he concluded.
Lissu’s election as TLS president last year was strongly criticised by government officials, who warned that the fireband lawmaker from opposition CHADEMA party would politicise the law society.
TLS was established with several statutory objectives, including to maintain and improve the standards of conduct and learning of the legal profession in Tanzania and to assist the government and the courts in all matters affecting legislation, administration and practice of Law in the country.