Law Students At The 70th Graduation Ceremony

Two Hundred Thirty Six Law students of Makerere University were today Friday 17th January 2020 among the University students that were conferred degrees during the 4th and last session of the 70th graduation ceremony held at Freedom square.

The Graduands included Dr. Benson Tusasirwe, a Lecturer at the School of Law who graduated with a   Doctor of Laws of Makerere University.  Nineteen were awarded Master of Laws degrees while Two Hundred and ten were conferred with Bachelor of Laws degrees.

The colorful event was presided over by the Chancellor Makerere University Professor Ezra Suruma who commended the faculty and staff in School of Law and other Colleges that presented students for the excellent work done while preparing the students. ‘it takes a great deal of effort and time to train and graduate over 13,000 graduands including PH.Ds and Masters Degrees’ he said.

Professor Ezra Suruma, Chancellor Makerere University

He also appreciated Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe and his Management Team as well as the ceremonies committee for putting together a successful event. He expressed pride in the fact that Makerere University staff continue to be at the forefront of conducting cutting edge research, which he said, led to distinguished awards and maintained Makerere University’s global reputation as a leading research institution.

The Chancellor, in his address to the jubilant crowd of graduands and their benefactors  extended his gratitude to the parents, guardians, teachers, mentors and peers of the graduands for the help and counsel they accorded to the students over the years, which made it possible for them to realize this achievement. He asked the graduands to use the skills and knowledge acquired at the University to address the challenges they will face while outside the doors of the University.  ‘The challenges you will face will require character, courage and sacrifice. Character and courage are costly. I hope you will find something to believe in, to stand for and to sacrifice for. It does not have to be a global or even national ambition. It can be as little as helping an orphan child to go to school.’  He advised quoting from the works of Mother Theresa of Calcutta.

Dr. Suruma said education without compassion, integrity and morality could not bring happiness and prosperity to Uganda and urged the graduands to play their part in supporting the strength and integrity of Uganda, mindful of the fact that there is a lot of darkness all around us.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma for being re-appointed Chancellor of Makerere University for another four years by H.E. the President 2020. He expressed regret and extended apologies for the inconveniences caused by the delayed procurement of graduation gowns although it was later rectified. He said he had instituted a team of eminent members of staff to investigate the circumstances that led to the gowns saga. On a positive note, the Vice Chancellor informed the graduands that their transcripts were printed and ready for collection from respective colleges.

Dr. Benson Tusasirwe awardee of Doctor of Laws

The Vice Chancellor commended the Government of Uganda for all the strategic interventions and investments in the training of key human resource at Makerere University and other sister universities. He reported that during Financial Year 2019/2020, the University received special funding worth UGX 30 billion from the Government of Uganda to support high impact Research and Innovations He said Makerere can do even much more to help the Country achieve middle income status much faster.

On the issue of Visibility, the Vice Chancellor said Makerere continues to improve and that it was ranked among the top five universities in Africa and among the top 400 globally. ‘Makerere is also considered the best black university on earth’ he noted. With more than 70% of our 1340 academic staff holding PhDs, Makerere boasts of the most highly qualified faculty at any university on this continent, he said.

While highlighting some of the achievements of the School of Law, Prof. Nawangwe reported that the School of Law was set to launch the Disability Law and Rights Centre which would help spearhead activities like mainstreaming disability issues in the curricula, management as well as research. Through Research, the centre was to continually influence policy and practice and align them to the provisions of the law.

He noted the increasing research portfolio in the Law School citing the collaboration between the Human Rights and Peace Centre with the Centre for Resolution of International Conflicts (CRIC)  that recently launched a Danida-supported research project on Security, Peace and Development in Uganda.

The Vice Chancellor also noted that The School of Law received an additional grant from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) which had increased service delivery especially through the Public Interest Law Clinic.  Over 50 civil cases including land, family law, and administrative matters were successfully handled from May to November 2019 in the Legal Aid Clinic. 136 Law students are beneficiaries of the program “Using Legal Education to promote public interest Lawyering and improve access to Justice”. It aims at harnessing the legal knowledge for law students on social justice issues in the communities and improving public policy and rule of law. Through community outreaches, over 1,300 persons were reached through legal literacy sessions, while over 400 persons were served in the clinic.

Further he reported the impact created by the Refugee Law project where in the year 2019, the unit celebrated 20 years of continued service as a community outreach wing of the School of Law. They continue to offer services focuses on empowering asylum seekers, refugees, and deportees, Internally Displaced Persons and host communities to enjoy their human rights and lead dignified lives, serving

During the 70th graduation ceremony, a total of 13,510 students were conferred degrees and awarded diplomas of Makerere University in various disciplines. Of these, 62 received PhDs, 1,173 Masters Degrees and 119 Postgraduate Diplomas, while 12,156 received undergraduate diplomas and Bachelor’s Degrees.

Of these, 50.5% of the graduands were women and 49.5% men.  422 students graduated in First Class Honours Division.