Thought and Ideas
Are you for Uganda and its people or for self, money and the demon?
Posted Sunday, October 27 2013 at 01:00
Within days, Uganda has lost four of its finest and most hardworking sons who will forever be irreplaceable. These are Chango Macho, Bernard Onyango, Ambassadors George Abola and Eddie K. Wapenyi. I will write on two of them.
Bernard Onyango is the former amiable and most effective Academic Registrar of Makerere University. As a young legal draftsman of the then Makerere University Act, I briefly served under his able leadership when I was assistant registrar, legal affairs. We both drafted the former Makerere University Act. Later as a young University law don, I greatly benefited from his counsel.
Bernard’s industrious and tireless input in the famed East African University was immence and unpassed. His family now headed by my good academic and intellectual friend, Prof Joe Oloka Onyango and all of us who knew and worked with him will sadly miss him.
Chango Macho w’Obanda has been profiled by one writer as one of the most memorable figures in the political and social fabric of Uganda. Whatever struggle he was involved in, it was never for his stomach unlike many educated Africans of today. Chango Macho, like President Museveni, was initially depicted as a communist.
Later in their lives the image of communism disappeared and they both distinguished themselves as liberators and nationalists. They subsequently differed in their political deeds and social behaviour and many people became disillusioned with those of the former while still masmerised by those of the latter.
For both mzees Onyango and Chango Macho, let Uganda mourn and shed tears in memory of true patriotic sons. May Providence receive and keep them in blissful peace.
The two fallen heroes of the Pearl of Africa, worked and lived knowing that it was all for their country and people. Their work and history should remind us about what we ourselves have done or are doing and for whose benefit.
Before his death, President John Kennedy of the US promised the universal patriotic saying : “Ask not what your country is doing for you, ask what you can do for your country”.
Several years ago, I gave a series of lectures to law students in Uganda Law Schools and faculties. In the oldest of these, I asked the law students in the audience whether they regarded service to the community or the acquisition of wealth and money as their main objective. The majority of them put money first as the motive for studying Law.
I put the same question to the students at both Christian-founded universities, at Mukono and Nkozi and to my great surprise and pleasure, the greatest number of responses preferred service to any other reason for their struggle to obtain academic and professional qualifications.
Later, I received the answer for this preference of the students’ preference of service to the community. At both Nkozi and Mukono Christian universities, courses in Ethics and Integrity were components of compulsory reading and study.
In many professions such as law, medicine and building construction, professionalism and service have been sacrificed at the alters of money, status, positions and self-aggrandisement.
Lawyers will refuse to represent a poor litigant who has an invincible cause and insurmountable changes of success but little or no money, and gladly and without hesitation accept the brief of a wealthy litigant who has no or poor chances of success, on the basis of that abundant capability to pay the professional fees handsomely regardless of the results of the impending litigation.
Lawyers’ clients who tend to be those capable of paying whatever amounts the not so honest lawyers demand are deceived by the apparent impressive but false representations displayed by their lawyers. Such representations are often quite impressive and clients are deceived in believing in the competence and professionalism displayed by poorly trained or unqualified cadres masquerading as the most sought after and qualified professionals.
If anyone is in doubt about this public display of falsehoods, one needs to read the qualifications, background and experience of the respective lawyers who recently represented both the petitioners and respondents in the case of the four members of Parliament expelled by the party, the NRM party.
Almost every Ugandan has met these false professionals, technicians and practitioners each or a group of them, claiming to be qualified and the best in the business when they are unqualified, greedy and bent on deceiving the innocent and, in the process depriving them of property, money and goods.
Prof Kanyeihamba is a retired
Supreme Court judge. firstname.lastname@example.org