By Salmah Namwanje
Makerere University School of law will be celebrating 50 years of existence this year.
Having started in 1968 as a department in the then faculty of science when Makerere was still the university of East Africa, the school is now an independent college under the Makerere University collegiate system that was started in 2012.
The law school had 23 graduating students then and it has seen the numbers grow to now 280 graduating and 1,300 continuing students. It now has bachelors, masters and PhD programs with a bigger percentage of those in the legal fraternity.
As the school celebrates fifty years, among the activities will be the launch of a fundraising drive for an endowment Fund the will see increased funding for the school. The chairman organising committee retired Justice Lameck Nsubuga Mukasa told journalists that the school needs to create a system that will help needy but able students.
‘’We have people who are aspiring to become lawyers but they are handicapped, for example me when I came here I was being funded by government but today you must have funds, so a son of a peasant like me had it not been government funding me I wouldn’t have found money to study law yet I was academically able, so we are looking at helping such people.”
The principal Makerere school of law Dr. Christopher Mbazira says the school will also sensitize the public about the available pro bono legal services that the school offers through the Public Interest Law clinic and how to get assistance in case of any need.
‘‘The school has grown and put up structures and centers that serve the public in a number of respects, we have the public interest law clinic which is a legal aid service provider, Human Rights and peace Centre a Centre that works on human Rights advocacy and research, the refugee law project which works on issues of refugees and forced migration and a few years ago we established an environmental law center, so we think these are very important achievements that we need to celebrate’.”