Judiciary not doing enough to protect women - Matembe

Miria Matembe

What you need to know:

  • Ms Matembe was speaking last Saturday at the launch of retired judge Asaph Ruhinda’s book titled ‘By God’s Grace, the judge’ in Mbarara City South Division.

Former Ethics minister Miria Matembe has said the Judiciary is retrogressing in terms of gender and women empowerment.

According to Ms Matembe, the recent landmark judgement by the Court of Appeal on sharing of matrimonial property for a divorcing couple is one of the indicators of how the Judiciary is unfair to women.

“Instead of the judges upholding the judgment of the High Court that when there is divorce, each party should share 50 percent of the property, their judgment based on the contribution of each person where by the woman was getting 20 percent share; I wonder what precedent they used to measure either party’s contribution,” she said.

“We have been fighting to secure the marriage and divorce law for 60 years now in vain and for that reason, women have continued to be discriminated against and cheated in this area of marriage,” she added.

Ms Matembe was speaking last Saturday at the launch of retired judge Asaph Ruhinda’s book titled ‘By God’s Grace, the judge’ in Mbarara City South Division.

She said judges should always be human while handling cases to bring out fairness in its real term.

“I must commend Justice Ruhinda for the book he wrote because it addresses most family wrangles. Unfortunately, Uganda is very corrupt in every sphere of life, including the Judiciary,” Ms Matembe.

“That is why we are calling for the real law on marriage and divorce, the sooner it is made the better, to address issues of injustice, streamline how to share property upon divorce because they are increasing every other day,” she said.

Nevertheless, Justice Ruhinda said there is hope to get justice for women seeking divorce.

“There are always pro bono services like the ones I intend to offer to less unfortunate people with various cases in my retirement because much as there are courts of law, some people cannot afford the fees asked for and yet they all deserve access to justice regardless of their status,” he said.

In his remarks, Deputy Chief Justice Richard Buteera said judges have a duty under the Constitution and do not decide their own cases.

“The court listened to submissions from both parties and made a judgment; however if anybody is uncomfortable with the decision, there is still room to appeal to the Supreme Court, which can reverse the judgment if it is wrong or uphold it if it is right,” he said.

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