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Launch of the MLS Golden Jubilee Celebrations

 

Law students have been urged to become revolutionaries by conquering themselves, identify problems and participate in the struggle to change their society and humanity without expecting anything in return.

Prof. PLO Lumumba further urged the students to make good use of their time as students to become the much needed agents of change and worriers of democracy by utilizing the intellectual fire power while their time at University still holds.

This was during the Virtual launch of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Makerere Law Society, held on Tuesday 10th August 2021.

The Guest speaker Prof. Lumumba, a Lawyer and Teacher from Kenya further expressed confidence that Makerere University School of Law was providing a good incubation opportunity for the students to enable them become good Lawyers that would be agents of change in many respects in the area of Agriculture, Politics and Law, not only in Uganda but able to dissolve the boundaries all over Africa.

In reference to the Theme of the event, ‘The Role of the Student in Contemporary Democracy”, Prof. Lumumba who described democracy as  a political environment in which the people’s will is expressed, noted that the scholarly definitions of the term Democracy were euro centered and urged the law students and scholars to reconfigure the DNA of such foundational terms handed over to them in class in order to fit into the African context. 

Using the example of the electoral processes as one of the tenets of democracy, he observed that the African continent had become a victim as seen from the heavy security deployments during the election period in a number of states, which he said calls into question the meaning  of democracy. 

Prof. Lumumba urged the Law students to establish the reasons as to why Lawyers were called ‘Learned Friends’, a history preserved for three professions including Doctors and Theologians. ‘Law is a qualification which requires extensive training, a profession in the world that claims to have mastered knowledge whose decisions bind all other professionals’, he explained.

On their role in society, he said Lawyers who were warriors of truth and justice needed to conduct themselves with dignity for the good of society.’ A Lawyer is an important agent and plays a critical role in society’ he said urging the students to be ethical, true to justice, humble and to recognize that they were not a monopoly of knowledge.   

He observed that despite the fact that  Law was an honorable profession, many a times, lawyers were perceived as parasitic rather than agents of social engineering in society. He urged the Law students to establish whether they were parasitic and whether the communities got better or poorer because of them.

The Guest Speaker congratulated the Makerere University community, the MLS and all stakeholders for the 50 years of existence and the monumental contribution by the association and the alumni in Uganda and beyond.

The Patron of Makerere Law Society Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire while giving a background to MLS noted that to larger extent, the association had retained the original intentions envisioned at the start in 1971.  In reference to a quote from the first Ag. Dean of the Faculty of Law Prof. Joseph Kakooza, the intentions of MLS were to encourage the worthy traditions of the Legal professions and its academic life, to calculate a responsible society, establish contacts and cooperation’s with persons and organizations engaged in legal education and to publish any legal literature.  He said the MLS had as its main activities the production of the Makerere Law Society Law Journal, the Moots, the Annual Law dinner, Sports Gala, lectures and symposia.

He paid tribute to the trail blazers of Makerere Law Society citing a number of them that were involved in the publication of the Makerere Law Journal. They included Mr. C. Mubiru Musoke who became a successful criminal Lawyer, John Sentamu who later became the first African Archbishop of York, Daniel Omara Atubo who became secretary Bank of Uganda and Minister of Government among many others, with one of the most recent being Hon Justice Bart Katureebe, Chief Justice emeritus. This he said, was clear testimony that MLS was a good training forum for leaders in Uganda and beyond.

While highlighting some of the achievements of MLS Justice Kiryabwire noted that the biggest achievement was continuity albeit changes like the revised constitution. He said MLS was doing a commendable job and taking its rightful place in the training of Lawyers in post-independence Uganda. He however challenged MLS to seriously evaluate whether it had brought law into the service of Society as perceived at the time of its inception.

He called upon the MLS to embrace the use of Technology if it was to remain relevant.  He said the use of technology was going to become a new normal and that MLS must do more to capture the implications of technology in the practice of Law as it is in Uganda. ‘Legal practice has become a service that is on demand, with the Internet of things, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence’, he noted.  He further challenged MLS to examine how such changes would impact on the practice of Law since legal practice was becoming a service available on demand like on line shopping. He said Robots with Artificial Intelligence were to become new members of the Uganda Law Society leading to law demand of service from the MLS.

Further, he encouraged the law students to embrace legal skills for dispute resolution, rather than litigation to render justice citing the use of alternatives to justice throguh negotiation and arbitration and asked the School of law to prioritize the instruction in this area.

The President of Uganda Law Society Ms. Pheona Nabaasa Wall, while talking about the process of building a sustainable justice system in Uganda noted that MLS had made a big contribution and that it was right to celebrate the 50 years of its existence.  She commended MLS for its contribution to the education of Lawyers and the direction of Leaders through all the literature written in the Journals and other mediums where knowledge has been shared.

She urged the Lawyers to embrace their role in society ensure good governance, rule of law and asked the Law students to interrogate what was happening around them, review the laws and to take leadership in the rule of law clubs that exist in secondary and primary schools.

The Principal School of Law Prof. Christopher Mbazira noted that the School of Law had realized a lot of achievements working in partnership with Makerere Law Society. He said as student leaders, MLS had a lot of influence on the student body and was instrumental in enabling the School of Law realize its mandate.  He noted that with the 50 years of leadership by MLS, a number of leaders were nurtured and were serving the nation in many respects in the University and beyond.  Prof. Mbazira extended appreciation to the Patron of MLS, Geoffrey Kiryabwire for providing leadership to the students not only in programs and projects but also financially.

Ivan Sempijja, President Makerere University Guild said that the Guild was one such institution that was helping instill into leaders the tendency towards democracy since the only way to get to different office was by elections. He said a number of people were involved in politics and that if the young people did not share their ability, this would leave the participation to the old generation with all their limitations.  He commended MLS for the continuous legal advice and direction rendered to the student’s guild.

The 50th Makerere Law Society President Mr.  Waiswa Nsaawa said the formation of MLS 50 years ago was inspired by the deep desire to inculcate the traditions of the legal profession, to foster social interaction at all levels among law students and to produce holistic lawyers with an aim of creating a responsible society.  He said Makerere Law society had become the most auspicious beginning to the promise of a Legal career.

He listed some of the past 49 MLS Presidents that over the years steered the association to greatness and they included among others; H.E. Chris Mubiru Musoke, the First President of the Makerere Law Society in 1971, H.E. Remmy Kasule of 1972, who later became Justice of the Court of Appeal of Uganda/Constitutional Court, H.E. Apollo Makubuya in 1980/81, one of the Founding Partners of MMAKS Advocates and Chairperson Board of Equity Bank Uganda Limited.

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