Professor Emeritus Josaphat Laurean Kanywanyi was born on the 5th November, 1938 in Bukoba Rural District of Kagera. He joined the University of East Africa at University College Dar es Salaam in 1963 (in the Faculty of Law’s third cohort of student intake) and obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1966. In 1967 he graduated his LL.M at the University of California Berkeley (USA) and in1987 he obtained his PhD from the University of Dar es Salaam.
His employment life started with the appointment as a special lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam in 1967. However, the interim between his master’s and the doctoral degree is explained by heavy teaching load caused by the few African staff at the Faculty. By then, there was a high mobility and turnover among expatriate staff, and at the same time an ‘Africanisation’ programme characterized by localization of staffing spearheaded by the independence government. This meant heavier responsibilities for African local staff.
Administratively, Prof. Kanywanyi became the first Tanzanian Dean of the Faculty of Law, serving in that position for three triennia (1974-1979; 1982-1985 and 1991-1994). He served as a Dean for the longest period in the history of the Faculty of Law. Having been the eldest of members of the law staff for a long period, Prof. Kanywanyi frequently assumed not only the staff training role for the Faculty/School of Law but also a self-imposed, energy-absorbing yet meticulous role of mentoring the younger staff for the leadership of the Faculty/School.
Professor Kanywanyi participated in many public service activities and consultancies. To mention a few he was a Member in the Board of Directors of the Bank of Tanzania (1975-1982); Member of the Judicial Service Commission (1980-2007); an Acting Justice of Appeal, Tanzania (1993-1994); and the Judge President of the COMESA Court of Justice (1998-2000). Furthermore, he carried out various consultancy assignments connected with the drafting of parliamentary bills, law reviews and legal opinions. He has to his credit numerous research reports, conference papers and journal and other publications.
Professor Kanywanyi died in Dar es Salaam on 10th January, 2021 at the age of 82. May his soul rest in Peace.