Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World

Celebrating the Love of Friends in a Loving World
Red Roses for You, My Sweet Friends ... Total Love.

My Sweet Friends

My sweet friends,

We grow closer to each other;

When we interact together and share ideas;

The common faith that we share,

Binds our hearts in one accord.

For sweet friendships last a life time,

When built on mutual respect, humility and understanding;

Throughout each different season,

We find we are one in life.

Sweet friends are there through times of grief;

And times when hope is gone;

Always there with encouragement;

So we can carry on.

I thank the Lord for you,

My true and faithful friends;

To fondly speak with you, whether we agree or not,

On this, our beloved blog;

For sweet friends will stay, no matter what;

Giving support.

Together, our hearts and minds truly unite;

With the amazing love of sweet friends.

In the spirit of true friendship,

Best wishes, my sweet friends;

May the Lord bless you abundantly.

I remain, yours truly,

B.B. Bakampa.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Draft Petition Concerning Under-performance of the Law Development Centre




[This petition is labelled ‘draft’ because it is not yet ready for presentation. We are now embarking on public consultations on all the matters stated therein and so your views are highly welcome. Please, take some of your precious time to read through it and leave a comment or more at the bottom of this post. There are also some icons to help you recommend it to people on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. You may also send Bakampa an e-mail via bsaint3@gmail.com if you would like to have a pdf copy of this petition.
Help us in raising public awareness on this matter. We shall be glad to have your support in this endeavour. You may all know or at least have heard of the problems faced by students at LDC, some of whom may be your relatives or friends – it could even be you. If you are not yet affected, tomorrow may be your turn, either through you personally, your child, sibling or friend. What is for sure is that every moment that LDC’s game goes on unchallenged, someone loses or will lose. We should do everything within our power to stop this un-called for plight.
Ours is a protracted struggle. Please, be a part of this cause by signing this petition or even giving us a financial boost through mobile money, on mobile number +256753124713. Your generous contribution will assist us in running this important campaigning. There is no more retreat and no more surrender this time. Let’s do it for a better future of the next generation of people in Uganda. We either win or they lose.]

DRAFT PETITION CONCERNING UNDER-PERFORMANCE OF THE LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE
TO BE PRESENTED TO
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SPEAKER,
PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA
BY THE
FRIENDS OF UGANDA
2014

 SUMMARY OF THE PETITION

Part One – Preamble

The Friends of Uganda, signatory to this petition, have agreed to petition the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament, stating as follows:

Part Two – Merits of the Petition

A.                 Preliminary Remarks

We are calling for a judicial commission of inquiry, with powers of the High Court, to investigate the underlying causes of the unacceptably high failure rates of the Bar course at the Law Development Centre, Kampala. The causes of these high failure rates are scientifically studied and analyzed in this petition. They are largely indicative of under-performance by LDC, although other stakeholders play marginal roles too.

B.                 The Petitioners’ Case

The following stakeholders have variously contributed to high student failure rates:

1.                  The Role of LDC as an Institution

(a)                The Poor Structure and Design of the Bar Course

(b)               Unethical Conduct of Professional Advisors

2.                  The Role of the Student Community

(a)                Condoning a State of Fear

(b)               Promoting Examination Malpractice

(c)                Lack of Seriousness

3.                  The Role of LDC’s Financiers – Government and Donors

4.                  The Role of Students’ Sponsors – Parents and Guardians

Part Three – Final Observations

The consistently high failure rates at LDC are clear evidence of the institution’s under-performance. It is an institution that presides over academic violence, having been largely hijacked by savage and remorseless wrong doers, who have perfected the art and science of plunder and predation.

Part Four – Beyond Lamentations: Moving Forward

We should break the LDC monopoly over the Bar course, by devolving its duties to universities that are operating law schools or faculties, offering undergraduate legal studies.


Bakampa Brian Baryaguma (Lead Petitioner)

Tayebwa James Bamwenda (Co-petitioner)

Friends of Uganda,
 Kampala-Uganda.

..., 2014

TO:
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE SPEAKER,
PARLIAMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA,
PLOT 16-18 PARLIAMENT AVENUE,
P.O. BOX 7178, KAMPALA, UGANDA.

Dear Madam Speaker,

Re: Draft Petition Concerning Under-performance of the Law Development Centre

‘Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble, but one who openly criticizes works for peace,’ Good News Bible, Proverbs 10:10.

Part One – Preamble

The Friends of Uganda, signatory to this petition,

Conscious that all people in Uganda, united by common bonds and cultures pieced together in a shared heritage, are entitled to the services of efficient government structures and institutions and concerned that this entitlement may be shattered at any time;

Mindful that our obligations towards the state, including payment of taxes, are fulfilled in the expectation of due performance of state and national duties to satisfactory standards;

Recognizing that the untenably high failure rates at the Law Development Centre have by and large made it disadvantageous and problematic to the dreams and aspirations of people in Uganda;

Bearing in mind that it is the duty of every person to rescue talent from the graveyard of disadvantage;

Determined to put an end to the disadvantage that the Law Development Centre has become and contribute to the wellbeing of present and future generations of people in Uganda;

Emphasizing the need for government and public scrutiny in the functioning and activities of the Law Development Centre;

Determined to this end and for the sake of present and future generations, to push for the establishment of a serious and independent judicial commission of inquiry, mandated to investigate and make appropriate recommendations pertaining to service delivery at the Law Development Centre particularly, regarding postgraduate legal studies (the Bar course), where it enjoys a monopoly;

Resolved to ensuring progressive change in postgraduate legal education and training in Uganda;

Have agreed to petition the Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament, stating as follows:

 Part Two – Merits of the Petition

‘We must rescue talent from the graveyard of disadvantage or poverty. The gift of giving, the duty of serving – living for a cause larger than self, are the true marks of achievement. ... society is your business,’ Dr Willy Mutunga, Chief Justice of Kenya.

Below is the substance of the petition, beginning with our preliminary remarks, followed by the gist of our concerns, then our general observations and finally, our proposed way forward.

A.                 Preliminary Remarks

‘The only necessary thing for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,’ Edmund Burke.

It is said that leadership is action, not position. With this in mind, it is our desire and indeed pleasure, to offer guidance and direction on the debate concerning under-performance of the Law Development Centre (LDC), through high student failure rates. To this end and in addition to what is stated in this petition, we call for a judicial commission of inquiry, with powers of the High Court, to investigate the true cause of high failure rates at LDC and make appropriate recommendations for the future. Until then, we present our views in this petition as an admonition of looming present and future disaster. Initially we were repelled or even outraged, but later we understood the whole tragedy of this misery and its deeper causes. Now we urgently call for action on them. We would like to state clearly that this petition guarantees a scientific, adequate and logical analysis of the problem and proposes sound solutions, but it does not claim to know it all or purport to have a panacea to the problems at hand.

In our view, the underlying causes of this disaster are well explained and vividly illustrated with empirical evidence from many sources especially, the lead petitioner’s writings, hereto attached as annextures, detailing some of his experiences while studying at LDC. Whereas we affirm the accuracy of the revelations made in these writings, we don’t suggest that the people named therein haven’t changed or reformed. For this reason therefore, it is not our intention to hold people to perpetual guilt. Nevertheless, we cannot guarantee that they have necessarily changed. Inevitably, the writings are extremely vital, at least for their evidential value; for no struggle gains strength without evidence.

Needless to say, we give credit to LDC for some of the good work it has done in its lifetime, of training and releasing legal officers who have played a vital role of engendering our judicial system and positively contributing to the development of our jurisprudence, except that we contend that along the way, it has done more harm than good, yet truth be told; the people of Uganda deserve better.

B.                 The Petitioners’ Case

‘Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about the things that matter,’ Martin Luther King.

There are roughly four constituencies that are represented at LDC: the institution i.e. LDC itself; the student community; LDC’s financiers i.e. government and donors; and the parents and guardians. As explained below, each of these constituencies has a role it plays in contributing to students’ failing at LDC. Nevertheless, as cogently appears herein, it should be emphasized that LDC, as an institution, is the biggest “offender” both in extent and impact, deserving the lion’s share of blame.

1.                  The Role of LDC as an Institution

In order to have a more analytical study of this matter, we requested LDC to give us previous results of the Bar course (hereinafter, ‘the course’), as Annexture A shows, but we were simply ignored. Now, there are two things involved here: the poor structure and design of the course and the unethical conduct of the teaching staff, otherwise known as professional advisors.

(a)                The Poor Structure and Design of the Bar Course

The structure and design of the course is very poor and highly problematic. It contributes to high student failure rates in the following respects:

(i)                 Excessively Harsh Rules of Passing the Course

Passing the course is governed by a set of rules known as Rules Governing the Passing of the Bar Course (hereinafter, the rules), some of which are excessively harsh and inherently disadvantageous to students. For example, Rule 4(7) provides that if a student fails three or more subjects in the practical exercises, he or she shall be discontinued from the course. Rule 8(6) also provides that if a student fails four or more subjects in the final examinations, he or she shall be deemed to have failed the course. These rules have led to the discontinuation from the course of many good and capable students. For example, during the 2011/2012 academic year, a student who ordinarily had the second best average marks was discontinued because he had failed just one subject – commercial transactions.

It is better to allow students to redo the subjects they failed as many times as possible, though in accordance with the ‘three years rule’ as is stipulated in Rule 15 of the rules, which provides that a student must complete the course within three years.

(ii)               An Unreasonably Financially Demanding and Time Consuming Course

The course is extremely demanding in terms of time and financial resources, yet it is absolutely full time. As per the 2012/2013 academic year, classes begun at 9:00 am and officially ended at 6:00 pm, after which students spent the rest of the time rewriting the day’s notes in their books, before leaving for group discussions. The problem or challenge here is that students, mature as they are, cannot for instance, work as they study. Students are forced to either obtain study leaves from their employers or resign. This situation negatively affects their financial ability, which in turn deprives them of sufficient financial resources that are necessary for buying notes and other reading materials.

Moreover, the full time aspect of the course locks out many potential candidates who are willing and able to pay for it, as evening programme students. This makes the course exclusionary and somewhat discriminatory. Worse still, the notes referred to here are essentially a reproduction of university undergraduate class notes. All these issues make the course unreasonable.

(iii)             A Very Boring Course

The course is characteristically boring, at least most of the time. You see, the most important and really new thing that LDC introduces a Bar course student to, is drafting legal documents like plaints, notices of motion, affidavits, charge sheets, indictments, other statutory forms and so on. The rest of the substantive law and procedural aspects of the same remains unchanged, similar to what is taught during the four years of university studies, except and of course, if there has been an amendment in the law by the responsible bodies like parliament and other government bodies.

What this means is that students end up drafting several similar and/or related documents, over and over again, in the course of study. It should be noted however, that a plaint or charge sheet is materially the same no matter what branch of law one is looking at or the relevant offence under consideration. Consequently, repetition of the same work causes a monotonous routine that eventually leads to serious boredom and hinders concentration or even revision of notes. Now, a bored student is a de-motivated and demoralized one and many times this reflects in the student’s poor performance in examinations. For LDC, this is shown in the continuous high failure rates.

In order to cure this boredom and eliminate the high failure rates, it is better to incorporate the essential and definitive component of the course – the drafting of legal documents – into undergraduate law courses. Boredom at that level is very unusual and unlikely because every now and then, a student encounters new and interesting aspects of law. If this is done, we may find that the existence of LDC will be rendered irrelevant, unnecessary and undesirable.

(iv)             So Much is Taught, Yet So Little is Examined On

Another serious problem is that so much is taught in a remarkably short period of time, yet so little is examined on. As explained earlier, LDC is essentially a repetition of four years’ work of undergraduate study, save for drafting of legal documents. In fact, the student is also introduced to totally new material emanating from some optional subjects that he or she had chosen not to do at university, for various reasons, including disinterestedness. To make matters worse, LDC has also introduced subjects that are wholly unnecessary and therefore, unsuitable, for purposes of the course and piled them on students. Evidence of this is available in paragraph two of Annexture B to this petition. In this respect, LDC is busy hijacking the main role of universities. The biggest problem however, is that even after this manifest overloading, the mode of examination is very narrow, shallow and unfair because very little is examined on. A standard exam paper has only two compulsory numbers, both of which attempt to cover as many areas as possible, on a given topic, thereby jumbling up issues. Eventually, this haphazard style, bordering on trickery, results into several negative effects:

·                     First, as Annexture C shows, in the first and second paragraphs, it creates a multiplicity of answers that even confuses the professional advisors themselves. Since law is open to argument – not like mathematics where there are straightforward and clear answers – the long range of possible answers makes it difficult to determine right and wrong ones. Some professional advisors end up marking some students’ answers wrong, yet others mark more or less the same answers right. LDC administrators say that they have cured this by composing a marking guide, with so-called best answers, that examiners must follow, but this does not solve the problem at all. It expects a student to claim divine attributes and develop capacity to read the examiner’s mind to predict the required answers, which is impossible. By-the-way, even in court cases, there are opposing sides, each one putting up persuasive arguments based on the same law, so much so that even judges listening to them end up dissenting or disagreeing among themselves. This is because law is about alternative views.

·                     Second, this haphazard and really ambiguous style of examination leaves out many more relevant and useful topics. This is unfair since it narrows down the academic spectrum and disadvantages many students. Naturally, people have different interests, which translate into different strengths and abilities. Likewise, different LDC students perform differently in given topics and so, to subject them to limited and restrictive questioning is to disadvantage and cause them to fail.

·                     Third, LDC’s wide scope and magnitude of study areas, coupled with an extremely narrow method of examination, a combination of which makes revision very burdensome, tempts students to engage in petty spotting of likely examinable areas, as the only way to survive. No wonder, during examination periods, students are fond of pleading with professional advisors to spot for them areas to concentrate on. At the end of the day, it all smirks of gambling – a mere game of chance.

(b)               Unethical Conduct of Professional Advisors

‘A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops,’ Henry Brooke Adams.

Some professional advisors lack basic ethical conduct. They have very negative attitudes towards their students. This very powerful and really influential group has been and continues to be a negative influence on students’ studies and performance in many ways, including the following:

(i)                 Bully Professional Advisors

There are bullies who mistreat students by deliberately instilling fear in them, through intimidation with failure. Evidence of this is attached as Annexture D to this petition. These professional advisors invoke fear arousing techniques for their selfish ends by shouting at students. This gross mistreatment creates a tense environment that causes students to live in perpetual fear, leading to failure, because a person living in fear cannot perform reasonably well. We believe that professional advisors know this.

(ii)               Malice Aforethought

Worse still, some professional advisors are so bad hearted that they make it a point to maliciously fail students whom for whatever reason they don’t like. This is well known at LDC. Credible evidence of this is attached to this petition, marked as Annexture E, wherein the outrageous comments of their “spokesman,” Mr Tweyanze Lawrence, therein referred to as ‘Mr X,’ are reported, saying that there exist lecturers’ networks that ensure “troublesome” students’ failure, by denying them marks. Apparently, LDC enjoys so much raw power – powers of life and death: whereby passing is equivalent to life; and failure, to death – that it determines who lives and dies. Evidently, Lord Acton’s statement that ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,’ finds its finest expression at LDC.

These people think that failing students is an effective way of reducing overcrowding and competition in the field, thus saving prospective business opportunities. But this kind of thought is wrong because generally speaking, in legal practice, client base is intra-generational, in the sense that people of one generation are more likely to hire practitioners of their own generation, than they are likely to hire older or younger practitioners. For instance, classmates will hire their classmates; age-mates, their age-mates and so on. Moreover, seniority is not everything. It also matters how good you are as a lawyer. In this respect therefore, these professional advisors are being naive and rather ignorant.

(iii)             Promoting Examination Malpractice

Some professional advisors, together with other administrators, have resorted to engaging in and promoting examination malpractice, in collusion with students. This is done through examinations paper leakages and illegal adjustment of marks, both of which LDC is notorious for. Please, see Annexture F for recent evidence of examination paper leakages. As for illegal adjustment of marks, people in Uganda may recall that currently, there is an ongoing probe on this matter. Through these malpractices, LDC has become an institution where nature’s deadly game of dominance-for-survival thrives, based on financial power and physical bodily perfection or beauty, which are the currencies often used to buy and snatch success. There are rampant and horrible tales of bribery and illicit sexual expeditions, which for many desperate students are the only way out of the academic abyss. At LDC, the cardinal rule is survival for the fittest, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons, most of the time.

(iv)             Confusion among Professional Advisors

The other negative influence that affects students’ performance is the confusion that abounds among professional advisors especially during marking, resulting from a multiplicity of answers to questions. Some professional advisors mark some students’ answers wrong, yet others mark more or less the same answers right. This matter has been traversed earlier, where reference was made to Annexture C.

(v)               A Meaningless Examination Appeals Process

In spite of its highly defective examination arrangement, LDC management operates a totally rigid examinations process that is blind and indifferent to appeals for redress. The moment professional advisors fulfil their core mandate of marking scripts and releasing results (however much confusion they may have been suffering from), that’s the end of the matter. The results are cast in stone – fixed and immutable – just like the law of the Medes and Persians. Much as the rules envisage an appeals process to cure any defects, establishing an ad hoc committee known as the Examination Appeals Committee (hereinafter, the Appeals Committee), it is indolent, redundant and somewhat incompetent, because it never sits and when it purports to do so, all it does is to dismiss any available appeals. Moreover, the Appeals Committee charges exorbitant fees (Uganda shillings fifty thousand only – Ugx 50,000/= – per paper, by the 2012/2013 academic year) for its redundancy. Evidence of this is available in Annextures G & H to this petition.

Essentially therefore, the whole examinations assessment process looks like a prisoner execution process: the hangmen i.e. professional advisors, do the hanging or guillotining in the gallows, while the Appeals Committee waits on standby like an undertaker, ready to finish off, once and for all, any victim still showing signs of resistance and permanently bury him or her in LDC’s famous academic limbo. It is ironical that an institution which trains future justice officers cannot lead by example, of delivering justice to those who need it. Do they even deliver justice outside LDC, anyway?

2.                  The Role of the Student Community

‘The unfortunate part about being a victim is that we become irresponsible because we feel there is nothing we can do about our lives,’ Dr Bruce H. Lipton.

(a)                Condoning a State of Fear

LDC students live in a state of recurrent fear that may be rightly described as ‘the LDC phobia’ that has been accepted as “normal” just like the high failure rates. As earlier noted the primary fear is that of failure, which is closely associated with fear of the professional advisors, fear of the course and generally, fear of LDC itself. The inculcation of fear begins right from universities where lecturers talk of LDC as a frightening place, full of uncertainty. These strange tales are then confirmed by rude and abusive professional advisors at LDC. This absurdity has created a pervasive culture of fear, which keeps growing. Students have opted to adapt to this difficult situation, thus resulting into two things:

(i)                 Embracing Indolence

First, students have resigned themselves to keeping quiet, choosing to be passive and indolent because it is widely believed that to become known by professional advisors at LDC is tantamount to committing academic suicide. Evidence of this is available in many of the lead petitioner’s writings; for instance, the last paragraphs of Annextures C and D. Fear has created a survivalist tendency among whole lawyers and reduced them to a most unfortunate state of docility! Accepting this state of affairs is the most serious undoing of the LDC student community that is supposed to be vibrant, championing and defending human rights as well as promoting accountability. One wonders how these lawyers will protect other people against excesses if they cannot protect themselves in the first place. In stead of addressing the root causes of the problem, students have always chosen to indulge in self-suppressed lamentations, bordering on gossip and petty hatred of LDC, referring to it as hell. Nowadays LDC is fondly abbreviated as ‘helLDC’ by many students! Many people who have gone through LDC, whether successfully or otherwise, including prominent advocates, hate it so much that they are unwilling to be associated with it. No wonder when LDC organized an alumni meeting last year, it was very poorly attended. This suggests something fundamentally wrong with the institution.

On a serious note however, someone needs to educate LDC students on the dangers of indolence and silence. French author, Eve Curie, while speaking to the American Booksellers Association, in New York, on 9 April 1940, stated that ‘... peace at any price is no peace at all. ... life at any price has no value whatever; that life is nothing without the privileges, the prides, the rights, the joys which make it worth living, and also worth giving. And we also discovered that there is something more hideous, more atrocious than war or than death; and that is to live in fear.’ Further, Kenyan learned author, Mr Miguna Miguna, writing in his 2012 book, Peeling Back the Mask, said at page 557 that, ‘Diplomacy and cowardice don’t provide security; outspokenness does.’ Further more, our own, Mr James Magode Ikuya, emphatically stated in one of his opinions published in the then Weekly Observer newspaper that, ‘In human history, rights are not given or offered by human rulers; they are won in the crucible of a furious struggle by those who are deprived.’ He also said that, ‘A slave who does not struggle against his slavery remains and deserves to be a slave.’ LDC students should stand up and defend themselves.

(ii)               A Religious Frenzy of Despair

Second, the uncertainty of passing LDC has sent many students into a religious frenzy of despair, whereby students have resorted to appeasing the Almighty God and other deities. They dedicate several prayer sessions, retreats and duas to them, hoping not so much for blessings, but miracles. This would ordinarily be fantastic, only that these students are unwilling to actively contribute to the elimination of the underlying causes of this injustice. They prefer throwing at and leaving everything to the supernatural.

By and large, the whole prayers agenda smirks of attempts to bribe the supernatural forces because many students have clearly forgotten that we all have a solemn and divine obligation to fight injustice and oppression. That’s why the Holy Bible, in the book of James 2:17, teaches that faith alone, without actions, is dead. In the Hadith, Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) also teaches us to always fight injustice. There are serious attempts to turn LDC, an academic institution, into a de facto miracle centre. By-the-way, LDC administration is very generous to and supportive of these prayers.

(b)               Promoting Examination Malpractice

‘Teach my son that it is more honourable to fail than to cheat,’ Abraham Lincoln.

As explained earlier, the uncertainty of passing LDC has driven many students to acute levels of desperation and caused them to engage in and promote examination malpractice, in collusion with professional advisors and other administrators. They are willing to buy or simply snatch success.

(c)                Lack of Seriousness

It may be possible that some students are just not serious enough; that they don’t work hard enough, dodge classes; and so on. But we can confidently say that these are extremely few and negligible. LDC students are very committed to the course and their books. The sheer fear of failure and the overriding need to successfully finish the final year of study, jointly force them to regularly attend classes.

3.                  The Role of LDC’s Financiers – Government and Donors

‘The future is not a gift. It is an achievement,’ Bobby Kennedy.

We appreciate the positive contribution of government and donors of supporting and facilitating LDC programmes, but we also note with concern that certain professional advisors sometimes complained about late payment of their salaries, which perhaps explains why some of them are rude and mean towards students. So, like Oliver Twist, we humbly say, ‘Please, give [us] more,’ calling upon them to always ensure that LDC is better facilitated; that staff members are well paid and promptly so.

4.                  The Role of Students’ Sponsors – Parents and Guardians

‘A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary,’ Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Many parents and guardians don’t understand what it really means and takes for a student to be at LDC especially, financially. Whereas sponsors readily funded their children’s education needs at university, when these children go to LDC, the sponsors pull back, thinking that now they know it all. They wrongly think that LDC is simply for formality purposes; just a walk-over. Many stop at providing basic support like paying tuition, buying mandatory wear like suits, and may be paying hostel fees.

Parents and guardians seem to forget that there are other incidental costs like photocopying and buying of notes and feeding. These vital areas receive very little attention such that many student fail to access notes, go hungry and thirsty; all of which result in low concentration in class and eventually poor performance in exams. Napoleon Bonaparte said that, ‘An army marches on its stomach;’ so do students. We appreciate the hard economic times, but truth be told; many of our dear parents and guardians can do better in financially supporting their children as they study at LDC.

Part Three – General Observations

‘In the face of impossible odds, people who love their country can change it,’ US President, Barack Obama.

The consistent high failure rates at LDC are clear evidence of the institution’s under-performance. The rampant abuse of students by some professional advisors, through malicious machinations, is a negation of its core mandate. Apparently, LDC is an institution that presides over academic violence: the weapons which most readily conquer reason. It runs a wicked game where only the strong survive. This game would ordinarily be good, had it not been for all the wrong reasons in the world that determine who either survives or perishes.

LDC has perfected the infamous man-eat-man syndrome. This is the right time for all us to refresh our minds and ponder the immortal words of Robert Francis Kennedy who called upon us to ‘... dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world,’ but most importantly, to live and act on them because this state of affairs, existing in an academic institution that is supposed to be a centre of learning, is very absurd, untenable and definitely unsustainable. LDC has been largely hijacked by savage and remorseless wrong doers, who have perfected the art and science of plunder and predation.

Part Four – Beyond Lamentations: Moving Forward

‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however, is to change it,’ Karl Heinrich Marx.

As petitioners, our desire is to shape, guide and move forward the debate for reform of postgraduate legal education and training in Uganda, in stead of joining the bandwagon of merely lamenting and criticizing. It is our pleasure therefore, to suggest that the only long term and sustainable way forward is to break the LDC monopoly over the Bar course, by devolving its duties to universities in Uganda that are operating law schools or faculties that offer undergraduate legal education studies, with the approval by both the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) and the Law Council. Once the judicial commission of inquiry is established, we shall propose that Parliament repeals the Law Development Centre Act, Cap. 132 and all regulations made thereunder, particularly the Advocates (Enrolment and Certification) Regulations, S.I. 267-1, Regulation 2(a) of which creates a monopoly for LDC over the Bar course training, which is being abused. We strongly believe that this is the best thing to do; and only the best is good enough. Our belief is premised on these and other reasons:

1.                  Universities have competent manpower. The lecturers who teach there also practice law;

2.                  Rampant boredom will be eliminated after removal of monotony and repetition of work;

3.                  The regulatory and supervisory framework of the NCHE and Law Council is already existent at university level. These bodies are charged with the duty of guaranteeing good quality standards; and

4.                  The abuse and potential of it, such as that found at LDC, is almost non-existent at universities. They have generally proved that they can be trusted with promoting real respect and value for students.

In a nutshell, we may all remember the valuable lessons from basic economics that monopolies are naturally oppressive and suppressive. LDC has proved to be one of them and as basic economics teaches, the best way forward in order to protect the interests of consumers namely, students, parents and guardians, government and donors, is to abolish this monopoly. It serves nobody’s best interests to maintain and continue funding an institution where failure is the norm and passing, the exception. As a nation, we cannot continue throwing good money after bad. This is certainly wastage that must stop.


By copy of this petition, the following persons are hereby notified of this matter and are humbly called upon to do everything within their power to address the concerns raised therein.

c.c.       Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs

c.c.       Chairperson, Law Council

c.c.       Director, LDC

c.c.       LDC Donor Community

ANNEXTURES

Annexture A (Request for previous Bar course examination results.)

Law Development Centre,
P.O Box 7117,
Kampala, Uganda.

Wednesday, 22 January, 2014
TO:
THE DIRECTOR,
LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE,
P.O. BOX 7117,
KAMPALA, UGANDA.

Dear Sir,

Re: Request for Previous Bar Course Examination Results

I humbly request for previous Bar course results for at least the last 10 years, from the 2002/2003 academic year. Particularly, I need basic information showing how many were admitted; how many passed or failed; and how many abandoned the course.

I am desirous of petitioning relevant bodies and officers like the LDC Management Committee and Director, for purposes of pushing for some reforms in the study and teaching of the Bar course. For instance, among others, I would like to suggest modifications of the Rules Governing the Passing of the Bar Course (hereinafter, the rules), particularly Rule 4(7) which provides that if a student fails three or more subjects in the practical exercises, he or she shall be discontinued from the course; and Rule 8(6) of the same, which provides that if a student fails four or more subjects in the final examinations, he or she shall be deemed to have failed the course.

My proposal is that LDC should allow students to redo the subjects they failed as many times as possible, though in accordance with the three year rule as is stipulated in Rule 15 of the rules, which provides that a student must complete the course within three years. I therefore, need these results in order to assist me in my analysis of this and other matters.

Let me hope that my request will be put under your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

 [Signed]

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
Mob.:               +256753124713
E-Mail:            bsaint3@gmail.com


c.c.: THE SECRETARY


Annexture B (The letter addressing unnecessary subjects at LDC.)

OPEN LETTER TO THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR, LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE

Law Development Centre,
Department of Postgraduate Legal Studies,
P.O. Box 7117, Kampala.

Tuesday, 9th July, 2013.

TO:
THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR,
LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE,
P.O. BOX 7117, KAMPALA-UGANDA.

Dear Madam,

Re: Anticipated Disciplinary Proceedings Against One Bar Course Student

During yesterday’s address, the Acting Head, Department of Postgraduate Legal Studies (Bar Course), said that one of our moot judges reported an alleged act of indiscipline, to Administration. It is said that the student “stormed out” of a moot court session, on Friday, last week. Those who were in attendance, say that this is not true. That the concerned student had only moved out to visit the lavatories and returned shortly. The presiding judge unfortunately mistook this for an act of protest against him and actually took her through a bitter quiz, upon her return.

Be that as it may, it is the humble request of the student community, that we embrace reconciliation and bury the hatchet especially, in light of the fact that the complainant, the judge, is himself not without fault, as it clearly emerged from the meeting yesterday. For the sake of harmony between students and staff members, any anticipated disciplinary processes should be abated and a new chapter of friendly relations between the two camps, be opened. As the Bible states in Amos 5:24, we are called upon to, “Instead, let justice flow like a stream and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.”

Meanwhile, it is my considered opinion that the subjects of Accountancy for Lawyers and Revenue Law and Taxation, currently taught at the Bar Course, are really unnecessary and a total burden to students. They should be scrapped and better things done in their place, for two reasons.

First, inasmuch as I agree that all knowledge on earth is good, I don’t see reason why, given the short time span and workload of the Bar Course, we, as students, should be subjected to the torment of having to study things we may never practice as lawyers. I suggest that the study of accountancy be strictly reserved for accountants, whose services we should be at liberty to hire when necessary. Those interested, if any, may privately enroll for studies in accountancy, as and when they wish.

Second, as regards Revenue Law and Taxation, as a person who offered this subject at undergraduate level and passed it with ease, I contend that it is fairly complex, such that the time available at the course is too inadequate to permit sufficient coverage of it. This time constraint leaves fresh students ill-equipped to ably advise clients on taxation matters. In any case, the subject is an elective at university but many of us opted not to offer it. It is therefore, unfair to force it on them at the Bar Course, just like it is illogical to force those who did it before to redo it. Consequently, this results in time wasting and burden accumulation for students and unnecessary expenditure on the Centre’s part.

Yours faithfully,

[Signed]

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma – 0753124713; bsaint3@gmail.com

c.c. Director
c.c. Acting Head, Department of Postgraduate Studies (Bar Course)
c.c. Students’ Notice board


Annexture C (Article on a haphazard and ambiguous examination method and lecturers’ confusion.)

FACING THE IA ‘MADNESS’

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
[Dip. Law (First Class)–LDC; Cert. Oil & Gas–Mak; LLB (Hons)–Mak; Dip. LP Candidate–LDC]

Thursday, 15 November, 2012

Ever since I joined Law Development Centre (LDC) for my Bar Course studies in October this year, I have generally kept a low profile; living and taking life as and how it comes, like the rest of my colleagues. My fans and well-wishers have however, criticised me for this undue reserved attitude bordering on indolence. They have asked me to rejuvenate the so called Bakampa Services. Their pleas remind me of the great scripture in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where the Lord God says that if only His people would humble themselves and pray, then he would hear them in heaven and make them prosperous. Equally so, I have heard the concerns of my friends and due to public demand, I hereby succumb to the temptation to speak out on important matters of interest to the student community here. Let’s set it off with the hullaballoo about the Individual Assessment (IA) test results of Commercial Transactions. There are several unanswered queries on many people’s lips. One lady characterized the whole scheme as “madness” which informs the title of this piece today.

It is generally alleged that the marking was highly irregular and apparently uncoordinated so much so that one is left wondering whether our Professional Advisors (PAs) have a common marking guide and if at all they do, whether it is proper (you may also add “and logical” if you wish). That for instance, there are many cases where you find that student X drafted the same documents as student Y but the documents of one are entirely marked wrong while those of another are marked right! In other words, more or less the same documents are assessed totally differently under ambiguous and unknown criteria. Perhaps the most interesting comment I have heard is that one student drafted completely wrong and irrelevant documents (or even drafted none) but has 93% and the question is: where is the justice here especially, considering that there are those who endeavoured to present good work but nevertheless, performed dismally?! Many are concerned that at the end of the day this begs the question whether our PAs are actually reading from the same problem question in the course of marking. The worry is that this unnecessary confusion may spill over to the final examinations to our detriment and embarrassment. Well, all these and more are questions whose answers I do not have. My dear friends, your guess is as good as mine and all I have done is to combine and express some of your grievances on paper –talk of shifting from oral to written submissions. The answers lie with our PAs and LDC Administration.

Before I take leave of this matter, I would like to comment on the really perturbing widespread phobia of the PAs and other administrators at the Centre. As I listened to my colleagues pour out their disappointment and/or venomous anger, I regularly chipped in to remind them that they should follow up the matter with the concerned officials. My argument was (and still is) that they owe such a duty to them in fact. I was however, astonished to be told boldly and straight in the face, that this is impossible and that such a duty does not exist, anyway. According to them, doing such a thing is tantamount to digging one’s own grave. That this is because once detected by the PAs and administration in general, chances are that they would be victimized through under-marking with a view to detaining them at the Centre “for some time” and that even in practise, one risks being sidelined by the concerned people. In my considered opinion and with the greatest respect, this view is certainly baseless, highly misconceived and definitely untenable. Our Professional Advisors and LDC management in general, cannot be expected to stoop so low like that, indeed in flagrant breach of their professionalism. I am confident that they are neither mean nor vindictive. I know for a fact that LDC teaching and non-teaching staff members are highly respectful and considerate of their students and I am sure that I shall be vindicated on this as time and events unfold further. So, there is no need to worry at all. In any case, keeping quiet is no solution, anyway. Always remember this, my dear friends­– IF YOU DON’T ASK, YOU DON’T GET. This is the surest and safest way to facing the IA madness and other matters as and when they arise. May God bless you always.


Annexture D (Article on abuse and intimidation of students.)

DEMYSTIFYING THE LDC PHOBIA

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
[Dip. Law (First Class)–LDC; Cert. Oil & Gas–Mak; LLB (Hons)–Mak; Dip. LP Candidate–LDC]

Thursday, 26 June, 2013

There is deeply rooted fear of Law Development Centre (LDC), in many people’s minds. The picture painted of the Centre, by those within and outside, is that of a place akin to hell on earth, a monster and so on. Further, it is widely believed that the people in charge of and manning the centre i.e. the Professional Advisors, are mean, dog-hearted and malicious, ready to fail students, in order to avoid competition in law practice. For the eight months that I have been at the Centre, I have since discovered that the above fears are largely baseless and mere exaggerations of the challenges posed by the Centre and the nature of rigorous training the students undergo while there.

On a sad note however, regarding the conduct of Professional Advisors (PAs), I have found that some of them, in the course of teaching, take advantage of the fear associated with them and the Centre, to psychologically torture and really terrorize students into submission, to their desired viewpoints. This misconceived fear has made some of our PAs to assume so much power that they literally bulldoze students who attempt to present contrary views in class that are deemed undesirable. I have personally experienced and also heard complaints of the wrath of three notable Advisors namely, Mrs Mutabingwa K. Annette, Mr Kamba Hassan and Ms Nyangoma Patricia.

Mrs Mutabingwa has harassed and embarrassed me in class, on two occasions, by being utterly dismissive and contemptuous of me and my contributions, for no good reason, whatsoever! The first time was during second term, in one of the Criminal Proceedings sessions, a subject that she heads. I put up my hand, about three different times, trying to ask and/or contribute to the discussion, but she just hushed me up, in the most rude manner you can imagine - such that after class, some of my colleagues asked me why she didn’t want to listen to me. They wondered whether her and I have any prior personal conflicts or grudges. I said that as far as I know, none exist.

The second time was yesterday, again in the Criminal Proceedings session, when I attempted to submit that as per Problem Question No. 2, the army General Court Martial that tried and convicted an accused person for the offence of aggravated robbery, subsequently sentencing him to suffer death, was improperly constituted and that therefore, this was a sufficient ground for appeal. No sooner had I finished my submission than she hurriedly dismissed my averment as “a mere technicality, not intended for this problem.” My colleagues laughed. Surely, as lawyers, we know that this is not true. Certainly proceedings before an improperly constituted court are a total nullity. Later, I put up my hand, to ask what would happen on appeal, where the trial court was improperly constituted. She asked me whom the question was addressed to. I responded, “To the class and you, Madam.” Being rude, she scolded me for insisting on my technicality and never allowed my question to receive an answer – not even from the class! This time round, the whole class was reduced to total silence, I guess in disbelief especially, considering that she was patient with, tolerated and listened to other people’s questions and submissions, including the not-so-nice ones! As an after thought, she later belatedly tried to respond to my question, but rather scornfully.

Mr Kamba Hassan is another notorious one. Fond of ridiculing students, Mr Kamba is thought to be a serious joker of sorts, but upon close scrutiny, one discovers that he is a really annoying bully. This fact is increasingly becoming apparent. For instance, during last Friday’s Civil Proceedings moot, Mr Kamba unreasonably denied me the opportunity to present a preliminary objection, to the effect that the plaint did not disclose a cause of action, which is fatal in law. He said that I should “wait for the right time to present it.” Well, as fate would have it, the right time never came. The plaintiff’s counsel led all their witnesses and when it came to our turn, the defendant’s counsel, I asked whether the right time had come for me to present my objection to the plaint. Mr Kamba looked at me contemptuously and advised me not to waste court’s time, saying that my objection had no merit and was therefore, rejected. He overruled my objection even before listening to it! When he noticed that I wasn’t happy about his approach, he asked me to state it briefly, but I also declined, saying that “It is of no effect since you have already made up your mind about it.” He then told us a scenario where him and others clashed with Justice Owiny Dollo in court, saying that no matter what the judge says or does, as counsel you shouldn’t be angry, but simply oblige and continue saying “Most obliged, my Lord,” even if he or she calls you “stupid.” I shall have my take on this shortly. He also resorted to ridiculing me indirectly, faulting me for getting angry.

Honestly speaking, I didn’t expect my preliminary objection to close the moot, but I intended to raise it simply for learning purposes. It has happened in the past with other amiable and courteous Professional Advisors like Mr Bulamu Mayanja, who allows you to present your preliminary objection, rules on its merits, either allowing or overruling it and if it is allowed, he says that nevertheless, the moot will proceed for learning purposes. That’s the way to go. Incidentally, in Mr Kamba’s judgment, we, the defendants, won this moot, for just the very reasons that I intended to raise in my objection. Really funny, isn’t it? But because I wasn’t allowed to argue it, few students actually understood why the plaintiffs lost the moot, due to defects in their pleadings.

As for Ms Nyangoma Patricia, this one even threatened to fail me in oral examinations. “He will fail! This one!” she roared characteristically, pointing at me. Many of you recall the ugly incident we had in a certain moot, in second term, where I resigned my position of Court Clerk, because the judge, Ms Nyangoma, was shouting at me and the class generally. Thank God, for I didn’t fail after orals. She is widely believed, among the student community, to nurse regular mood swings.

Now, it is my contention that some Professional Advisors, like the above mentioned, have clearly exaggerated their power and importance as such. They have carefully read the minds of many students and discovered that most – if not all – of them go through the Centre as frightened beings, ready to condone and take wholeheartedly, everything and anything thrown at them, just for the sake of passing. Probably these PAs suffered the same fate and are now further sowing the seeds of tyranny and fear. It is unfortunate that for a long time this unwarranted phobia has reduced lawyers to docility and cowardice, in the sense that they cannot even protect themselves from manifest abuse. Learning friends, the secret lies in overcoming this artificial fear and demanding due respect. As former USA President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “All we have to fear is fear itself.”

My take on Mr Kamba’s advice that even if a judge and by extension a Professional Advisor, abuses you, that you should be meek and humble, is that this is total nonsense and should be ignored with all the contempt it deserves! People, you should always demand due respect because as the Bible says, you are wonderfully and fearfully made. You can’t afford to settle for less! During my time at Makerere University, there was a lecturer who was fond of insulting her students and the Police Force. She did so for a long time. One day she insulted me before the whole class. I humbly but strongly, castigated her in an article like this one and from then on, she changed her bad manners, became non-insolent and more respectful to students, up to now. This is the power of speaking out for self-liberation especially, through the written word. You needn’t and shouldn’t shout at the judges and PAs, just as I didn’t shout at Mrs Mutabingwa, Mr Kamba or Ms Nyangoma, in the above situations. There are more civilized ways, like this one, to express displeasure and demystify this phobia without necessarily being rowdy and ill-mannered, yourself.

Lastly, it is said and widely believed that it is suicidal to be critical of LDC and its officials. I would like to state categorically clear that I am neither bothered nor intimidated by empty and clearly exaggerated threats. Like I said earlier, Ms Nyangoma herself, threatened me with failure, but nothing happened to me. The same was said during my Makerere days, as alluded to earlier, but I passed. If I am convinced that what I am doing is the right thing, not even death will scare me. In any case, the world is in constant need of martyrs and I shall gladly pay the ultimate price, just for the sake of fighting evil and upholding the truth. “Say the truth and the truth will set you free,” thus says the Bible. Remember also that whereas the first slaves were created by force, their cowardice perpetuated their slavery. I am telling you, you don’t want to end up as miserable as that.


Annexture E (Article on professional advisors’ networks of malice.)

Change is Coming to the Law Development Centre

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

Wednesday, 17 July, 2013

I have been a victim of grave lecturer-student personal attacks before, but what I saw yesterday, surpassed anything I have ever witnessed in the past. Early in the morning, I left the comfort of my home to attend my Bar course studies at the Law Development Centre (LDC). Little did I know that I was slated to witness one of the most shameful, simplistic, naive, barbaric, unsophisticated and vindictive personal attacks ever from a professional advisor, against a student, in a class. I choose not to disclose the concerned advisor’s name because he himself tactfully refrained from mentioning mine. It is said that tit for tat is a fair game and for purposes of this opinion, I shall call him, Mr X.

Mr X came to teach a combined class of two firms or classes, if you like – Firms F and G. I am in G. He checked attendance by roll calling and awarding grades, for everyone present. He read out Firm F first, then G. When he came to my name, he paused a bit and looked at me more closely; slightly more than the others. I wondered why he seemed to be studying me. Then he read out all other people’s names. Then he asked, “Can I take two minutes to make a comment before we start?” “Yes,” we, the students, responded. What followed was a whole 15 minutes’ talk of rubbish, in response to my earlier publication about abusive LDC lecturers. I listened calmly and patiently, as he openly lambasted me.

He said that he attended a meeting where a “dossier” written by one student, against some lecturers, was discussed and that he himself read the publication. Mr X accused me of writing without purpose, saying that I am foolish, heartless and a fearful time waster, among other insults. Then he lectured me on the importance of lecturers, saying that they should be handled with care and more or less massaged because they still have what I need, the marks to pass my exams. Further, that even after this course, I shall meet them in different capacities say, as magistrates and it will be impossible for me to get favourable judgments from them, when I appear as counsel, representing clients. He also said that lecturers, just like magistrates, have a network, such that even if one doesn’t victimise you, another one may. In his opinion, I am left without energy anymore and it was wrong for me to put my grievances in writing, as speaking to the affected personalities would have sufficed.

Now, I thank Mr X for his response. He vainly attempted to challenge me and put up a good show, however mischievous, crude, amateurish and miserable, it may have been, in order to be seen. Here are reasons why I say so. First, he should know that my earlier opinion was written for purposes of demystifying the LDC phobia, by exposing the promoters of the culture of fear and also appealing to the student community to develop capacity to overcome that fear. That was my purpose of writing. For me, these objectives were achieved and the meetings he alluded to are evidence of that.

Second, Mr X called me foolish, heartless and a fearful time waster, but I think Mr X is just that too. Otherwise, how do you explain a situation where one takes a whooping 15 minutes of valuable time, to discuss the ideas of a foolish person, unless you personally are as that person and even worse. He said I should have spent that time reading about five cases. I think he should have also spent the 15 minutes teaching the same or probably more number of cases and/or legal principles, to his class. That is his job. Mr. X said that he is a born again Christian, like me. I believe he knows that the Bible, in Proverbs 26:4, states that, “If you answer a silly question, you are just as silly as the person who asked it.”

Third, on the importance of lecturers, whereas this is true, those lecturers should also know that, we, their students, are important too and deserve due respect. We are sides of the same coin. Lecturers are employed here because of us. They are paid salaries and/or allowances out of the tuition and taxes we pay. So, they are not doing us a favour. This is not charity, although charity demands courtesy too. By-the-way, Mr X should know that at one time, t, him and his colleagues may also need us and that’s why respect for one another is very important. In fact, like one philosopher said, it is part and parcel of civilisation. Incessant bullying and intimidation will not take us anywhere useful or meaningful.

Fourth, on the allegation that I won’t get favourable judgments from magistrates, my view is that those magistrates may as well keep their judgments and have them for dinner, if they like. In fact, Mr X reminded us that he is a Chief Magistrate in Soroti. Now, I remember that my wonderful advisor, Mrs Mutabingwa, warned us that in practice, some magistrates take trivial matters, such as appealing against their decisions, personal, so much so that in the future, they deny you favourable judgments whenever appearing before them. Mr X must be one of them, because how do you explain a person who unleashes such a vicious attack against his student, without any provocation whatsoever? He is crying more than the bereaved and it is very unfortunate, unprofessional and quite embarrassing.

Fifth, regarding the assertion that lecturers, just like magistrates, have a network, such that even if one doesn’t victimise you, another may, this serves to confirm, to my audience, my earlier arguments that we are here dealing with a system, not merely individuals. Therefore, any remedial steps taken should be directed towards cleaning up the rot in the system itself. While individuals may come and go, the system will stay and nurture other support structures. As far as I am concerned, key individuals are highlighted because, indeed, there is no other way out, except by singling them out, chiefly for illustration purposes. We are therefore, called upon to form counter networks in order to abate the disastrous effects of the architects of terror and social disharmony. It is stated in the Bible, in Proverbs 24:24, that, “If you are weak in a crisis, you are weak indeed.” So, we cannot succumb to this psychological terrorism; moreover, meted by the hands of identifiable and unarmed sadists.

This struggle is ongoing and your contribution is highly welcome. We are permeating through all places harbouring these agents of social disorientation – the enemies of progress and development – so as to weed them out totally and completely. Our cause is the creation of a truly just society where the virtuous are rewarded and the unethical ones, like Mr X and company, are exposed for all to see, shun and castigate. We know very well that this struggle may come at a cost, but we are willing to pay the price, just for the social good. After all, as Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said, “Freedom is neither free nor cheap.” A just society and its people are blessed by God and live long. Our world is changing and it is changing pretty first. You either change with it or it changes you. Clearly, the likes of Mr X are attempting to ride against the tide. Welcome to the revolution.

Sixth, Mr X stated that I am without energy anymore and that it was wrong for me to express my grievances in writing. According to him, speaking to the affected lecturers would have been enough. Other than the fact that this remark is utterly ignorant, it is dishonest as well. Mr X naively thinks that he can break my spirit and resolve, by making wild allegations, but this is total misfiring. Then, if he feels that talking to those concerned was a better option, how come for him he did not bother to first talk to me in private, at least to find out why I wrote my opinion, before rushing to condemn me unheard. As a senior magistrate, surely he knows that it is improper to condemn people unheard. These are double standards. Mr X purports to defend his disgraced allies, but at least I was decent enough not to stoop to his level, for I only responded to their attacks, in violation of the integrity of my person. Henceforth, Mr X should know that self defence is a duty as much as it is a right.

Finally, let me state that I have never disturbed Mr X’s peace at all. Therefore, he lacked basis on which to attack me. His statements went beyond normal stretches of imagination. Clearly, his intervention was unsolicited and unnecessary. This is strange of a man who has so far only made about three appearances as a professional advisor. How much worse will he be in a year’s time? He will probably be beating up people. If Mr X and his cohorts were Muslims, they would have known that the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is reported, by An-Nasai Kitabul Eman w Sharaiuhu Bab Sifatul Mu’min, to have said that “A Muslim is he who keeps protected people from his tongue and hands.” But they need not be Muslims to know it. I am not one either, yet I know it. I am aware that Sir Winston Churchill said that, “You will never get to your destination if you stop to stone every dog that barks at you.” My desired destination is social liberation. It is my considered opinion that Mr X is not a mere ordinary barking dog here. That’s why he deserves this firm response. He is an embodiment of raw and unmitigated evil and we cannot afford to surrender to the angels of Satan; princes of darkness; prophets of doom. LDC has a heavy burden of sorting out such people, if it is to shed off its ugly, albeit largely misconceived, reputation as a place of untold malice, suffering and mass student failure.


Annexture F (Statement on exam leakage.)

LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE, KAMPALA
DEPARTMENT OF POSTGRADUATE LEGAL STUDIES
THE POSTGRADUATE BAR COURSE 2012/2013

STATEMENT CONCERNING MONDAY’S CANCELLED DOMESTIC RELATIONS EXAM

By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
[Dip. Law (First Class)–LDC; PG Cert. Oil & Gas–Mak; LLB (Hons)–Mak; Dip. LP Candidate–LDC]

Thursday, 22nd August, 2013

STATEMENT

On Monday, 19th August, 2013, the Management of the Law Development Centre (LDC), decided to cancel the Domestic Relations exam, after discovering that the same had leaked to students. I am reliably informed that rumour has it that some elements of the student community are attributing the cancellation of this exam to me. It is said that since I have been fond of reporting on and following up everything at LDC, including burial activities and lecturers’ comments, I must have had a hand in influencing this decision especially, considering that I am well linked with Administration, as alleged.

Well, I think some of you are really giving me too much importance – far much more attention than I deserve. Let me state for the record that I have nothing whatsoever to do with the nullification of the domestic relations exam. Actually, I am also aggrieved because I reasonably believe that I had passed it, yet now I have to re-do it. Worse still, I suspect that Saturday may bring a harder paper, than we did. But, I am confident that with God’s grace upon me (and you too), I shall also pass it. Therefore, whatever sentiments may be prevailing among you, students, I would like to disassociate myself from them. I desire to take neither credit nor blame, for this decision. In any case, it cannot be that I alone, out of a student population of about 400 lawyers, can be that powerful as to prejudice the interests of such an overwhelming majority. Am I really that powerful? Surely, come to think of it, comrades.

Having said that, I would also like to state, once more, for the record, that I fully support the decision taken by LDC Administration and if, in any case, this is the reason why I am widely linked to it, then, I hereby plead guilty. This is because it is unfair and inequitable for us (you and I) to sit an exam which others had way ahead in advance. Right now there is an opportunity for levelling the playing field. Mark you, it would be catastrophic if we have to step out of the gates of LDC and begin worshipping or lording former examination cheats, for these who would even undermine the sanctity of justice and the legal profession as a whole, since for them, merit and ethics don’t matter anyway. I implore you to appeal to your good conscience by ignoring and despising all those claiming to be aggrieved by this important decision and their sympathisers, with all the contempt they deserve.

In my speech at our recently concluded Professional Dinner, I said that the journey we are embarking on is not one of short cuts, but of hard work, excellence and determination. Always remember those noble words, whose spirit is best captured by the words of one of the greatest men in world history, former US President Abraham Lincoln, who during the American Civil War of 1861-63, took off some time to pitch camp at the war front, with his Union troops, many miles away from the comfort and splendour of the White House, from where he wrote an inspirational letter to his son’s tutor, saying that, “Teach my son that it is more honourable to fail than to cheat.” Therefore, in my considered opinion, what Administration did was the right thing. I congratulate them upon it and so should you. I wish you success in your exams. God bless you.

[Signed]

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma


Annexture G (Appeal against Bar course examination results.)

Law Development Centre,
P.O Box 7117,
Kampala, Uganda.

Thursday, 21 November, 2013

TO:
THE SECRETARY,
EXAMINATION APPEALS COMMITTEE,
LAW DEVELOPMENT CENTRE,
P.O. BOX 7117,
KAMPALA, UGANDA.

Dear Madam,

Re: Appeal against Bar Course Examination Results

Introduction

In accordance with Rule 26 of the Rules Governing the Passing of the Bar Course (hereinafter, the Rules), I hereby present my appeal against some of my examination results, as released by the LDC Board of Examiners (hereinafter, the Board) on 11 November, 2013 and considered and approved by the LDC Management Committee, on 13 November, 2013. According to the results, I was discontinued from the Bar Course, for failing four of the six examinable subjects to wit, Civil Proceedings, Commercial Transactions, Domestic Relations and Land Transactions. I now come before the Examination Appeals Committee (hereinafter, this Committee) seeking a reconsideration of my results and reversal of the discontinuation from the course. But before I present the substance of my appeal, kindly allow me to express a few concerns, reservations and/or displeasures about this appeal process.

It has been reliably brought to my attention that this Committee is indolent, so much so that even its very own have contemptuously acknowledged it as incompetent and a nonstarter. A case in point is when our dear Mrs Mutabingwa K. Annette, told is in class that she advised a student who intended to appeal against his examination results, last academic year, in the following terms: “My brother, don’t waste your time with appeals. Those things don’t work. Just prepare to repeat the course.” Then, recently, one of my discontinued former classmates also intended to appeal aginst his results, but when he consulted the Deputy Director (doubling as Head of Academics), Mrs Nakacwa Florence Dollo, on the possibility of success, as far as I can recollect, she reportedly had the following advice for him: “Ignore the appeal. Just concentrate your mind on redoing the course next year. You will pay your money; the Committee won’t sit, not until probably January next year and your appeal won’t even succeed.” These are strong and honest statements coming from some of LDC’s topmost and finest, that cannot be simply wished away. My coming before this apparently condemned as toothless Committee, may easily be termed as truly daring. Whereas I had a prior discussion with the Acting Head, Bar Course, Mr Stephen Mubiru, about this issue, who told me that this Committee is active, he was nevertheless, at pains to point out a single successful appeal, at least for about 20 years that he has been here. So, I am left wondering whether this Committee grants justice or mere Confirmations of Death; call them Death Certificates. Moreover, I had to pay for it – Uganda shillings fifty thousand only, per paper (Ugx 50,000/=), even after I paid full tuition that includes examination fees. This begs the question: am I compensating LDC for its inadequacies? This question makes more sense if one’s appeal is successful; will LDC refund my unnecessary expenses incurred in pursuing an appeal, caused by its own shortcomings?; is it a disincentive of sorts to frustrate intended appeals; and could this partly explain why this Committee, in its entire history and existence, hardly does its job and has an easy ride dismissing students’ appeals, if it ever graciously does, anyway? These and more questions present a ridiculous situation altogether.

The Substance of the Appeal

Having said that, I now proceed to the merits of my appeal as follows:
Rule 26(1) of the Rules states the grounds upon which an appeal can be made namely, that (a) there is injustice apparent on the face of the record; (b) there are new matters of evidence; (c) there were errors or irregularities; (d) the rules were not followed; or (e) the interest of justice so requires.
In a situation where an appellant, like me, wasn’t able to witness or monitor the marking and general assessment exercise, these grounds, as enshrined in the Rules and the entire appeal process, definitely present huge challenges to argue and prove, thereby becoming somewhat complicated and rather unfair. Nevertheless, students are expected to blindly manoeuvre through, like miracle workers of sorts. I shall do my best.

First, with regard to Civil Proceedings, my results indicate that I obtained 39%. Without argument, I would like to concede this failure because after writing this paper, I realized that I had misfired one of the numbers and hadn’t finished the other. Therefore, I reasonably believe that I failed it. In my second year at university, during one of our public lectures, Justice Kanyeihamba advised us that a good lawyer is one who concedes a bad point, and moves on to another, without wasting court’s time. So, without unnecessary argument, I would like to follow this wise counsel, by not contesting the Board’s verdict and that ordinarily makes me a suitable candidate for a supplementary paper.

Second, I contest the results of the other three papers i.e. Commercial Transactions (29%), Domestic Relations (45%) and Land Transactions (41%), on grounds (a), (c) and (e), as stated in Rule 26(1) of the Rules. I strongly doubt I failed these three papers because I understood all the set questions and was by and large able to complete writing my answers. After spending about 20 years in the school system and successfully doing several sets of exams, I have developed sufficient capacity to gauge my performance and fairly predict the final outcome. As far as I am concerned, based on my well tested personal assessment model, these were confirmed passes; totally and completely, with nothing below 65% total marks. On this premise therefore, and bearing in mind the handicap that I wasn’t able to monitor the assessment process, I strongly believe that upon close scrutiny of my results, this Committee, will inevitably find that the Board’s decision discontinuing me ought to be reversed, due to (i) apparent injustices on the face of the record; (ii) existence of errors or irregularities in assessing my performance; and (iii) that the interest of justice requires so. I so pray.

Conclusion

Finally, I believe that this Committee – the intended great lion of justice – will awaken from its deep slumber to give me and others, due and deserved justice; assuming it is fully independent of the alleged lecturers’ networks that Mr Tweyanze Lawrence, said in open class, would ensure my failure of the Bar Course. By copy of this appeal, the under-mentioned LDC officers are humbly requested to help me get deserved justice in this matter especially, by having this Committee do its work as expected.

Yours faithfully,

 [Signed]

Bakampa Brian Baryaguma

E-mail:             bsaint3@gmail.com
Mob.:               +256753124713

c.c.       (i) The Chairperson, LDC Management Committee
(ii) The Director, Law Development Centre,
(iii) The Deputy Director, Law Development Centre
(iv) The Acting Head, Department of Postgraduate Legal Studies (Bar Course)


Annexture H (LDC’s Response dismissing the lead petitioner’s appeal.)

LDC’s Response to My Appeal

[On Friday, 13 December, 2013, the Secretary responded to my appeal, telling me the expected: a dismissal. In so doing, the Committee indeed proved to be a giver of mere confirmations of death, thereby denying me justice. But I doubt the Committee actually sat to consider my appeal because of the contradictory statements I received from LDC administrators and the suspicious behavior they exhibited when I was following up this matter.



On Thursday, 12 December, 2013, at about 3:15 pm, I went and talked to Mrs. Werikhe, the Secretary, inquiring about the progress of my appeal since the two weeks within which the Committee should have met and made a decision had expired on Wednesday, 11 December, 2013. ‘Is tomorrow Friday?’ she asked me. ‘Yes,’ I responded. ‘The letters will be ready tomorrow afternoon, but I know the verdicts,’ she said. ‘So, what is my verdict?’ I asked. ‘The results remain the same,’ she said. This meant that my appeal wasn’t successful. I thanked her for her time and promised to come back tomorrow afternoon for the letter. But while I left, I wondered whether the Committee would sit on Friday and the letters be issued that very day.



Anyhow, on Friday, 13 December, 2013, at about 11:30 am, I called the Acting Head, Bar Course, Mr. Stephen Mubiru (a very distinguished and dignified gentleman), on phone, inquiring about my appeal’s progress, while feigning ignorance. ‘Sir, how do I know about the decision in my appeal?’ I asked. ‘You will have to see the Secretary about that,’ he said. ‘May I check on her now? Do you think they are ready or am I too early?’ I asked. ‘What I know is that the Committee sat last week [i.e. week of 2-8 December, 2013], but I don’t know what verdict they reached. You will have to talk to the Secretary,’ he said. But can it be that the Committee sat over a week ago, yet up to now the whole Head of Department was unaware of its verdict?



Anyhow, at exactly 4:30 pm, I was in the Secretary’s office to receive my letter, but even then, the letter wasn’t yet ready. It took 20 minutes for her two assistants to procure it – typed and signed. They panicked to find it, claiming that it was misplaced. While they looked for it, I engaged one of them in a conversation. ‘By-the-way, when did the Committee sit?’ I asked. ‘I think last week on Thursday [i.e. 5 December, 2013],’ she said. This largely coincided with Mr Mubiru’s response. When the letter came however, brief as it is, stated that the Committee sat on Tuesday, 10 December, 2013. This date was in total contradiction with what I had been told by Mr Mubiru and the Secretary’s assistant. Clearly, the Committee most likely never sat to consider my appeal.



Anyway, the letter, written on headed paper, reads as follows:]

13 December, 2013
Bakampa Brian Baryaguma,
Former Bar Course student,
Index No. BAR/584/2012,
2012/2013 Academic year.

0753 124 713

RE: APPEAL AGAINST BAR COURSE EXAMINATION RESULTS

Reference is made to your letter dated 21 November, 2013 concerning the above subject matter.

This is to inform you that the LDC Appeals Committee in a meeting held on 10 December, 2013 considered your appeal and upheld the decision of the Board of Examiners concerning your results.


[Signed]

Joyce Wetikhe (Mrs.)
Secretary/Registrar, LDC

c.c.       Director, LDC.
c.c.       Deputy Director, LDC.
c.c.       Head Postgraduate Legal Studies.
c.c.       Assistant Secretary/Examinations Officer.