Political Question Doctrine and Its Justiciability in Tanzania: A Critical Analysis of Attorney General v. Reverend Christopher Mtikila

Dominic Daniel


This article examines the nature, application and scope of the
controversial political question doctrine. What the doctrine
seeks to achieve is at odds with what is intended by the
justiciability theory. While justiciability principle aims at allowing
all legal questions properly brought before the court to be
conclusively determined by the court, political question doctrine
intends to deny litigants of legal protection by prohibiting the
courts from entertaining legal disputes properly presented and
which are otherwise justiciable. The controversy has always
been on how to reconcile the two theories. This paper evaluates
the existence and efficacy of the doctrine in legal disputes
relating to the interpretation of the Constitution. It is submitted
that, although the doctrine remains relevant since there are
matters of public policy which are constitutionally nonjusticiable,
courts in Tanzania have not developed criteria for
determining when and under what circumstances should the
doctrine be invoked.

Key words: Political Question, Justiciability, Interpretation of the Constitution,
Separation of Powers, Judicial Review, Tanzania.

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