Source: AllAfrica
CHIEF Justice, Mohamed Chande Othman has appealed to leaders of African countries to remove patriarchy system, saying it has been denying capable women the chance to be appointed as judges in the continent's legal sector.

Opening a two-day colloquium on women judges and judiciary at the New Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha on Monday, Judge Chande underscored the need for the system to be reformed so as to give enough room for women to play their roles in decision making bodies.

The Chief Justice, however, stated that Tanzania was faring better as far as appointing women judges is concerned, as compared to other countries on the continent.

According to Chande, so far, only 27 per cent of women are judges across the world; but for Tanzanian case, out of 65 judges, 29 are women which is equivalent to 44 per cent.

"Tanzania is ahead of many African countries when it comes to giving chances to women to hold top posts in the decision making bodies including courts," CJ Chande said.

He, however, pointed an accusing finger on the current social and cultural structures, which he said: "They are main cause of patriarchy system on the continent which doesn't give equal rights between men and women."

Justice Chande asked women judges to use such symposiums, as important platforms for them to fight against the system.

"Women judges are in a better position to fight against social and cultural structures that abuse women's rights across the region. They can also assist other women who have been affected by the system in the legal organs."

President of the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ), Justice, Eusebia Munuo decried patriarchy system, saying it has been denying women from being appointed as judges across the continent.

She urged African countries to work on the system especially when it comes to appointing judges in courts and other justice dispensing units.Munuo said the current system doesn't give room for more capable women to perform their duties in their respective areas.

Justice Munuo disclosed that there are no true commitments in different African countries of appointing women in organs established to dispense justice.

"Right now, there are many women who are capable of executing cases, but they are not given opportunities to exercise what they have," she said, calling African nations to change the mindsets and give chances for women who can be judges.

"There is no fair play here. Our countries don't provide equal opportunities despite the fact that we're all human beings. All these are contributed by the existence of the patriarchy system," she said.

The forum has been organized by the International Commission for Jurists in collaboration with the Judiciary of Tanzania, IAWJ and Tanzania Women Judges Association (TWAJ).

Participants of the colloquium come from Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Sierra-Leon, Mozambique, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, Botswana, Mauritius and the host Tanzania. Women Judges are meeting here to exhaustively discuss the position of women in African legal perspective.

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