The Uganda Law Society (ULS) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Buganda Kingdom aimed at bringing justice closer to vulnerable people.
Core to the terms of the MoU signed on Friday, the Mengo establishment is to provide free office space to the lawyers in three of its counties from where they are to operate from.
Busiro, Mawokota and Buddu are the first three counties that the kingdom has provided space to kick-start the partnership.
Speaking at the signing of the MoU, the kingdom prime minister, Mr Charles Peter Mayiga, said the partnership is timely to help out those who are normally duped because they do not understand the basics of the law in business transactions.
“The Buganda royal law chambers will get a deep reach of the communities where the most vulnerable are predominate with this partnership. The children, women who are sexually abused by their uncles and their employers respectively, in exchange of jobs for the women, will too be helped out under this partnership,” Mr Mayiga said.
“There are also those who don’t know how to read and write and they are taken advantage of and duped into signing fake agreements. But with this partnership, this group will also be helped. “ he added.
The Buganda premier also promised to implement the MoU that the kingdom signed with the lawyers, saying Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II is interested in promoting the rule of law.
Mr Mayiga also warned that in communities where justice is only a preserve of a rich few, such scenarios will breed a situation of lawlessness.
The ULS president, Ms Pheona Nabasa Wall, explained that the reason they are partnering with the Mengo establishment is to reach out to the people at the grassroots in a bid to resolve legal disputes.
“Right now, we are preparing the country for oil and gas, there is business booming in the countryside; these things will need lawyers but there are no law libraries, there are no places where lawyers can do e-filing, that is why there was need to open these places to serve the vulnerable people,” Ms Nabasa said.
She also revealed that there are about 3,700 lawyers of the society, with 90 per cent concentrated in the central, meaning, the ratio of lawyer to citizen is 1:19,000, which she said is a big gap.
Ms Nabasa reasoned that there is need to send some of these lawyers upcountry to serve the people, hence the need to get office space.
She also gave an example of Uganda and Singapore of having both been third world countries in 1962 but right now, Singapore is a first world country while Uganda is still a third world country.
Ms Nabasa reasoned that Singapore was able to reach first world country status because they prioritized quick dispute resolution, unlike Uganda that has Shs3 trillion stuck at the Commercial Court only due to unresolved commercial disputes.