Tanzania: World’s women judges ponder over equal access to justice

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - Poverty is the biggest hindrance to any effort intended to ensure equal access to justice, particularly in developing countries, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, said Monday at a gathering of women legal luminaries from all over the world.

The meeting of Women Judges (IAWJ), holding in Arusha, northern Tanzania, noted that accessing  justice by every person is a precious right that must progress in tandem with growth in the economic as well as social spheres.

IAWJ said “We no longer wish to see our countries ranked down in parameters like cost of doing business indices, simply because our justice systems are dysfunctional that they cannot enforce contracts.

“We do not wish to see our societies so segmented that the rich can buy their way and the poor are taken for a ride,” the president said, stressing that every person should have guaranteed rights without regard to his or her status in life.

“We want to see that our women are respected and are held to the highest esteem they deserve. We need to groom our children to become justice-minded in a society that respects justice,” he added.

Held under the theme ‘Equal Access to Justice’, the five-day conference is set to reflect on issues related to administration of justice and generate ideas for the improvement of legal sectors and systems as well as the legal profession at large.

Underlining the need for reforming legal systems which were inherited from colonialism, Kikwete said they were based on alien laws that “are incomprehensible to the majority of the people” besides making the process of dispensing justice inordinately slow and not effective to the desired standard.

“This has made most of our legal regimes to be seen as methods of coercing our respective societies rather than a desired tool of regulating our good lives,”the president explained.

Participants in the meeting included Tanzania’s Chief Justice, Mohamed Othman Chande, Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Aloma Mariam Mukhtar, as well as presidents of various courts and tribunals.

Justice Eusebia Munuo of Tanzania is the current president of the IAWJ.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 5May2014

05 may 2014 17:32:31

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