President Yoweri Museveni has called upon lawyers to work hard for the prosperity of East Africans through integration.
The President made the remarks at the East African Law Society’s 22nd Annual Conference held today at the Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe, Wakiso district. The conference ran under the theme “Future Proofing of the Legal Professional in East Africa.
The East African Law Society (EALS) is the regional Bar Association of East Africa formed in 1995 and incorporated in Tanzania. It has over 10,000 individual members and also has six national Bar Associations as members namely the Uganda Law Society, the Law Society of Kenya, the Tanzania Law Society, Zanzibar, Kigali Bar Association and Burundi Bar Association.
President Museveni said that East Africa would not become sustainably prosperous if the intelligentsia of Africa who focus their time on small issues ignores talk about its integration.
“The intelligentsia of Africa discuss and know all things happening on earth but never talk about their future. I am glad you are talking about liberalizing legal services in East Africa,” he said.
President Museveni said that if the lawyers promoted the integration of East Africa they would have freedom to operate in the whole of East Africa thus improving their chances of being prosperous.
“You have now discovered that fragmentation of services in East Africa is a hindrance to your prosperity. You must, therefore, include the realization that in order to be prosperous, you must work for the economic integration of Africa and East Africa, ” he said.
He added that the integration of East African countries would not only guarantee economic prosperity but also ensure security from colonialism in the future.
“I hear that lawyers are in the business of insurance but how are you securing Africa against colonialism? Being a developed economy does not mean insurance against colonialism. South Korea is one of the richest countries but has got security issues,” he said.
President Museveni explained that when Africa was colonized by the whites, freedom fighters on the continent set out to achieve five strategic goals: independence, democracy, prosperity, political integration and protection of their independence through anti-colonial movements.
The President called upon the media, religious leaders and other leaders in society, to educate people about the strategic security of an integrated East Africa citing that it would create a large market for their goods and services and insure them from colonialism which has made the black race feel inferior to other races.
“Colonialism is a terrible sickness where people are made to hate themselves. They do not like the way they look or how God made them,” he said.
President Museveni, therefore, urged lawyers to promote law around issues of survival of Africa in this modern world era.
During the conference, President Museveni also launched the African Support Fund which is aimed at building legal capacity among East African countries and also train lawyers to address challenges facing East African countries such as investment agreements, private-public partnerships, large investment projects and natural resources.
The Attorney General of Uganda William Byaruhanga, commended President Museveni for his promotion of rule of law and urged him to use his position as Chairperson of the East African Community to elevate the rule of law in other East African countries.
The President of the Uganda Law Society, Mr. Francis Gimara, called upon East African countries to adopt a policy where East African law firms do all the legal work instead of hiring foreign law firms so that the law firms in East Africa become stronger.
Mr. Richard Mugisha, the President of the East African Law Society said the regional Bar Association is committed to contributing its quota towards the integration of East Africa.
The Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) Chairperson, Mr. Santhanakirshnan, the EALS Secretary General, Mr. Mussa Kombo, the President of the Kenya Law Society, Mr. Isaac Edwin Nicholas Okero, the President of the Rwanda Law Society, Mr. Julien Gustave Kavaruganda and individual lawyers from all East Africa countries attended the conference.