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Black Laws Matter: A Keynote Address by Dr. Busingye Kabumba

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BLACK LAWS MATTER

BENEDICTO KIWANUKA’S LEGACY AND THE RULE OF LAW IN THE ‘NEW NORMAL’

KEYNOTE ADDRESS

BY

DR. BUSINGYE KABUMBA,

LECTURER OF LAW, MAKERERE UNIVERSITY

AT THE 3RD BENEDICTO KIWANUKA MEMORIAL LECTURE

21ST SEPTEMBER, 2020

THE HIGH COURT, KAMPALA

My Lord The Hon. Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo, The Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda,
The Hon. Bart Magunda Katureebe, The Chief Justice of the Republic of Uganda,
The Hon. The Deputy Chief Justice,
The Honorable Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,
The Hon. The Principal Judge,
My Lords the Justices and Judges,
The Chief Registrar,
The Family of the Late Benedicto Kiwanuka,
Heads of JLOS Institutions,
Permanent Secretaries,
Your Worships,
The President of the Uganda Judicial Officers Association,
The President of the Uganda Law Society,
Invited Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

1.0 Introduction

I thank the Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny-Dollo for inviting me to give this lecture in memory of the first Ugandan Chief Justice of our country, the late Benedicto Kagimu Mugumba Kiwanuka.

I am deeply honoured to have been so invited. In the first place because of the immense stature of the man to whom this day is dedicated. Secondly, given the illustrious nature of the previous two key note speakers (Chief Justice Samuel William Wako Wambuzi – threetime Chief Justice of Uganda and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, the first Chief Justice of Kenya under the 2010 Constitution of that country).

I am keenly aware of the trust exemplified by this invitation, and do hope to try to live up to it. In the same vein, I would like to take a brief moment to acknowledge two people who have been critical in shaping my life and thoughts over the years, and without whose patient guidance the trust placed upon me today would have definitely been misplaced. First, my late father, Professor Ijuka Kabumba. Secondly, Professor Joe Oloka Onyango. Anything of any importance that I might say today I owe to their support and guidance. Any errors I might make, on the other hand, are entirely my own fault.

2.0 Crisis: Ancient and Modern

We meet today in the throes of a national, regional and global crisis. Covid-19 has fundamentally challenged life as we know it, upending and disrupting all aspects of our life – economic, social and political. Indeed, even today’s event is held under ‘scientific conditions’ with most attending electronically – over Facebook livestream – rather than in person.

In these circumstances, it is little wonder that the organizers of this third memorial lecture thought it best to hold it under the theme: ‘Promoting the Rule of Law in the New Normal’. It is an appropriate response to the rapidly changing world that confronts us.

At the same time, this morning, I would like to suggest a different way of thinking about, and approaching, the challenging times in which we find ourselves. That the best way of dealing with change – even rapid change – is to recognize those things which are constant.

I think, in this regard, of the words of King Solomon in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (New International Version):

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Thus, while the current times might appear to be without precedent, in the long life of the universe, what we are experiencing – as frightening as it seems – is nothing new.

At the same time, its lack of novelty in the larger scheme of things does not take away its novelty as an experience for us – we who are present in this moment. My suggestion this morning is that, in realizing both the novelty and banality of the present crisis – we appreciate it as an opportunity to courageously rethink a number of the notions to which we cling so tightly for comfort.

Who would have thought that most international borders could be closed, and for so long a time? Or that schools would be closed, and work places shut down – with the world seemingly coming to a slow halt? In this moment in which that which we never thought possible – that which was even unthinkable – could come to pass, is an incredible moment to re-examine other facets of life of our economic, social, political and, indeed, legal life.

This morning, it is with the last of these – our legal life – that I would like to briefly reflect upon as we remember the life and service of Chief Justice Benedicto Kiwanuka. As we remember his ultimate sacrifice for the cause and ideal of the rule of law, I invite us to reflect today as to what this might mean in ‘the new normal’.

Before Covid-19, we were a nation in crisis. After Covid-19, we shall remain a nation in crisis. Part of this crisis is one of identity. And this identity crisis then manifests in various aspects of our political, social, economic – and legal – life. This crisis can be captured by asking a few simple questions:

  1. What is Uganda?
  2. What does it mean to be Ugandan?

Only by seriously asking these two simple questions, and earnestly seeking to answer them, can we then accurately answer a third: ‘What law(s) should rule in Uganda?’ Put differently, this third question would be: ‘Why does the law not rule in Uganda?’

Please click the link below to Download the full Keynote Address

Law

Prof. Mbazira Receives ULS Distinguished Service Award

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Prof. Christopher Mbazira, Ag. Principal School of Law and 2021 ULS Award Winner of Distinguished Service in Promotion of Legal Education.

By Harriet Musinguzi

Prof. Christopher Mbazira, the Acting Principal of the School of Law Makerere University has received the 2021 award from Uganda Law Society (ULS) for his Distinguished service in the Promotion of Legal Education.

Professor Mbazira, who is also coordinator of the Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC) was recognized for entrenching the use of Clinical Legal Education methodology in the training of Law students.

In a statement shared on the ULS social media platforms, it was stated that Professor Christopher Mbazira has also spearheaded the mainstreaming of Social Justice and Human Rights across the School curricular. ‘He was one of the 9 academic staff who approached the supreme Court of Uganda and were admitted as amici in the 2016 Presidential Elections.

A number of persons and organizations have applauded the ‘well deserved’ award by Uganda Law society.

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Mak Law Society Launches Golden Jubilee Celebrations

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A screenshot of Prof. P.L.O. Lumumba delivering his address on the theme “The Role of Students in a Contemporary Democracy” during the Virtual Launch of MLS@50 celebrations on 10th August 2021, Makerere University.

By Harriet Musinguzi

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. P.L.O. Lumumba further urged the students to make good use of their time as students to become the much needed agents of change and warriors 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.

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Please see embedded video below for proceedings of the MLS@50 Virtual Launch


MLS@50: Launch of Golden Jubilee Celebrations for the Makerere Law Society

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School of Law to construct UGX 7 Billion Block

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The Chairperson of Council Mrs. Lorna Magara (2nd R) flanked by Ag. Vice Chancellor & DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R), Ag. DVCFA-Dr. Josephine Nabukenya (L) and Ag. Principal School of Law-Prof. Christopher Mbazira (2nd L) at the commissioning of construction for the UGX 7Billion School of Law Office Block on 6th July 2021, Makerere University.

By Musinguzi Harriet

The 6th of July 2021 was a monumental day in the School of Law Makerere University following the laying of the foundation stone for the new office block. The three storied structure will house Lecture, tutorial and seminar rooms, a library, a moot court, a cafeteria and a number of offices.  The project to cost Uganda Shillings 7.3 Billion is expected to be completed in a period of eight months with works undertaken by Symbion as the consultants and Ms CK Associates as the Contractor.

While presiding over the ground breaking ceremony at the School of Law, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council Mrs Lorna Magara affirmed the University’s commitment in ensuring that the structure is completed in the set time. She noted that the need for a new building for the School of Law was glaring and commended Government of Uganda for responding to the call made by Council and Management in availing resources for the project.  She noted that the approved designs provided for the needed infrastructure required by the School of Law to deliver on its mandate of teaching, research and knowledge transfer in the legal field. 

Mrs. Magara urged the Law faculty and students to support the University in the delivery on its mandate as provided for in the Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act and the National Development Plan 3 goal of Human development. She called for provision of guidance in policy making processes and administrative decisions that have legal implications.

She further said Universities were challenged to become centers of innovation noting that Makerere University had started realising some for the results through innovations like the Kiira EV vehicle and the Covid testing kits among others.  She pointed out the need to ensure the protection and reward of intellectual property rights.  ‘We need to find a way to protect and reward individual innovation and enterprise within publicly funded research while providing the right incentives for researchers and innovators’ she emphasized and further called for the support of the legal expertise in the School of Law in the enforcement of the patent rights for the innovators.

The Ag. Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Dr. Umar Kakumba noted that the all the prominent members of the bench except a few were products of the School of Law Makerere University.  He congratulated the management of the School of Law for the great work realized over time despite the challenges of space and infrastructure. He specially applauded the enthusiasm exhibited in the School of Law through legal research in the Human Rights and Peace Centre, the Community Outreaches undertaken by the Public Interest Law Clinic, and the Disability Law research and advocacy in the Disability Law and Rights Centre. 

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