Special Reports

Lawyers' Summit: The Calm Before the Storm

troche http://dailyniropekkha.com/wp-admin/includes/upgrade.php geneva; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>The petition tendered before the Constitutional Court seeks to challenge the Constitutionality of a recently enacted legislation that spells out tough penalties for homosexual practices and exhibitionism.

The law has in recent months touched off a storm on the national and international scene, with several donor groups delaying aid to Uganda.

However, the law enjoys widespread popularity across the conservative country. Lawmakers insist the anti-gay law will protect the traditional African marriage set up and the nation’s sacred cultural values.

Now, in what appears as a new form of resistance, the Christian Lawyers Association is covertly mobilising to ensure none of the lawyers seeking the repeal of the anti-gay law is elected for any leadership position during the ULS Annual General Meeting (AGM) this Saturday.

“Please note that whereas the ULS AGM is scheduled for this Saturday, we have information that there is likely to be an election and that some of those vying for major positions are people who petitioned against the Anti homosexual Act 2014,” the email, circulated among members of Uganda Christian Lawyers, reads in part.


“In that regard, your presence is called for to safeguard the legal profession leadership against such candidates.”

Lawyers speak out

Constitutional lawyer, Peter Magelah Gwayaka says the Christian Lawyers “are free to do anything they want to show their views or disgust provided they do not violate the rights of others.”

He adds, “After all freedom is about expression of one’s view on an issue and such views should be expressed in what is legally and socially accepted. For as long as they do not go beyond the limits, they are free to express themselves.”

On reports that ULS could headed for a split, lawyer Hussein Kashillingi tells Chimpreports that a breakaway in not possible “because ULS is established by an Act of Parliament and we are members by law not by choice. As longer as you practice law, you by law become a member.”

The ULS has in recent years come under heavy criticism for not coming out boldly to defend the rule of law.

The society dragged its feet and also exhibited signs of spinelessness in challenging the re-appointment of Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki after the expiry of his term in office last year.

The ULS Secretary General, Nicholas Opio has reportedly been seeking views from friends on whether to contest for the organisation’s leadership.

It remains unclear if he will stand but sources say he was reluctant to participate in the race.

The Christian Lawyers’ influence is likely to have a considerable impact on the outcome of the USL election considering its ability to successfully execute clandestine mobilisation with the support of powerful and financially stable religious groups.

City lawyer, Edgar Tabaro said history is dotted with so many breakups.

“It will test the resolve of its members and nurture emergency of new breed of leadership and heroes which in my humble opinion is healthy for evolution of society,” says Tabaro.

He further observes that while a breakup is not possible because the Uganda Law Society is established by act of Parliament, “It can’t prevent anyone and like minded colleagues to establish an association of say West Nile Bar Association.”

He added: “It is a freedom guaranteed by the Constitution. However, all said and done conflict can be a catalyst for change. What is paramount is whether we can harness it (conflict) for qualitative change.”

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