Government has finally approved Law Development Centre’s (LDC) plan to decentralize its services by establishing constituent colleges in all regions of the country.
This was revealed by the institution’s chairperson of the management committee, Justice Stella Arach-Amoko during the 45th graduation ceremony held yesterday at their premises in Makerere.
Justice Arach-Amoko said this will enable LDC to decongest the main Kampala campus as well as ensure quality legal education is accessible to all Ugandans.
“We already have many students coming in that we cannot comfortably take on. We shall ensure that whatever happens at the main campus is exposed to all students in regional centres,” Arach-Amoko said.
Currently, LDC has about 860 bar course and 600 students on other diploma courses. LDC director Frank Nigel Othembi said government has agreed to release Shs 1 billion in the next financial year to support opening up of the centres starting with Mbarara, before extending to Lira and Mbale after one year.
“We have also made provisions within our budgets because the 1bn will not be enough. In the next two weeks, we shall be advertising to get staff in six different posts although the approved staff structure for each centre is 12,” Othembi said.
The Mbarara centre will offer certificate courses starting in the academic year 2018/19. Diploma in Law (weekend) and Administrative Officers Law course (weekend) will commence on September 8, 2018 while diploma in Human Rights (evening) on January 14, 2019.
At the graduation ceremony, at least 713 lawyers were awarded a post-graduate diploma in legal practice, 536 students (diploma in law) and 54 got diplomas in human rights.
Chief guest, director of public prosecution Justice Mike Chibita commended LDC on its latest infrastructural development and insisted that management should continue to graduate only those students who pass examinations.
“This country needs quality lawyers and civil servants hence the need to maintain academic standards that this institution [LDC] is famous for,” said Chibita also an LDC 1989 alumni.
On his part, Simon Peter Kinobe, the president of the Uganda Law Society (ULS), cautioned graduates against being lured into any illegality, unethical conduct, and abuse of court process by senior advocates.
“You have joined a noble profession where excellence is not an option,” Kinobe said. “As young lawyers, you must harness the culture of hard work because this is not a quick fix profession. If you purpose not to steal client’s money, you will make it. Don’t be deceived that you make it through theft because it will break you.”
On Friday’s graduation, students who exceedingly performed well were recognised. Derrick Bazekuketta who emerged the best overall student on the bar course received the chief justice’s prize that comes with a set of pertinent law books and full set of the lawyer’s professional attire, among other relevant law necessities.
Bazekuketta couldn’t hide his excitement after his name was read.
“This is a very exciting and wonderful moment. I graduated as the best student in my law class at Makerere University on my 24th birthday in February 2017 and here I am again making my mother and everyone proud,” Bazekuketta.
Currently working Geoffrey Ojok & Co. Advocates, he advised lawyers intending to enroll on the bar course that: “You are not going find anything easy. People have a lot of bias on LDC but if you are determined, the sky is the limit and you will make it.”
He was followed by Linda Leila Najjemba scooping the attorney general prize, Rabecca Christine Mutesi, third best, with principal judge’s prize and Eunice Kalungi in forth position winning the Uganda Law Society prize.
Also on the bar course, Agatha Natasha Ahimbisibwe was the best graduate in Corporate and Commercial Practice paper which earned her the LDC/Agaba Muhairwe Advocates prize.
Mark Kizza Sekiranda won the Acadia Advocates prize as the best student in Civil Litigation, Issa Ogomba was the best in moot with Katende Ssempeebwa and Co. Advocates prize while Ruth Kintu was awarded by Logomarc Advocates as the best graduate in professional conduct.
For the diploma in law course, the best students are; Mesach Sekamate (best overall) with minister of Public Service and Cabinet Affairs prize, Innocent Bomera Wandera (second) took the chairperson LDC management committee prize and Moses Eripu (third) scooped the LDC director’s prize.
On the Human Rights course, Daisy Kissa emerged overall best taking the chairperson UHRC prize, Rebecca Nnanyonjo in second place won the chairperson LDC management committee prize and Doreen Arago in third place too the LDC director’s prize.
In addition to the various prizes, Justice Chibita also autographed and gave out his current book Loved by the best: The journey of one African judge to each of the best 14 students.
Chibita said the office of the DPP will start awarding the best student in criminal proceeding effective next academic year.