Uganda’s Female Lawyers Decry Low Interest In AfCHPR

Female members of the legal fraternity in Uganda have expressed concern over their lack of interest in matters of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The concern is raised as the Court receives names of nominees to replace the four judges whose term of office expires in July 2016.

According to the African Union Commission, the current gender representation at the AfCHPR is very low with just two female judges; Justice Elsie Thompson from Nigeria and Uganda’s Justice Salome Bbosa.

Speaking to KFM, the Uganda Law society president Ruth Ssebantidira blamed this on the lack of confidence among women lawyers.

“Its sad to see that none of our female members has expressed interest, but when you talk about women’s challenges they are not peculiar to the rural woman. These issues cut across all spheres of life including professional women and women in business,” Ms Ssebatindira told KFM in an exclusive interview in Kampala.

“The legal profession is no exception where there are not many women leaders even in law firms, so those are challenges we are still grappling with”, Ms Ssebatindira added.

According to a statement issued earlier by the African Union Commission, in order to ensure adequate gender representation, AU member states are asked to nominate atleast one female candidate with experience in more than one of the principal legal traditions of Africa (Civil Law, Common Law, Islamic Law as well as Custom and African Customary Law).

The deadline for receiving candidates’ names is April 30th while the election and appointment of new members will be conducted during the 29th Ordinary session of the executive council and 27th ordinary session of the assembly, respectively in June 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Article 11 of the protocol that establishes the AfCHPR requires it to have eleven judges who must be national of the AU members states and each state party may propose upto three candidates.

The judges to be replaced are Algeria’s Mr. Fatsah Ouguergouz re-elected in July 2010 for a six- year term, Tanzania’s Mr. Augustino S. L. Ramadhani-, Malawi’s Mr. Duncan Tambala and Nigeria’s Ms Elsie Nwamuri Thompson (all elected in July 2010 for a 6-year term).


Story By Catherine Ageno