First and foremost, congratulations to President Elect Pheona Wall Nabaasa, her Vice President elect Diana Angwech and her entire team of new leaders atop the Uganda Law Society. That was a well deserved and hard fought victory.
Having served previously as Vice President of the Law Society, a job I am reliably informed she did quite well, President Wall certainly knows what has been going right, what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to enable ULS serve the legal fraternity better and the general public as a whole.
Luckily or unluckily for her, she serves as senior legal services manager for a government parastatal National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) one of the few actually performing parastatals associated with the state although it can still do much better too.
However, that comes with a number of advantages and disadvantages for her depending on how you choose to see things.
Being a lawyer in a government controlled entity may mean she can easily connect with the legal professionals at the Justice Ministry, the Attorney General’s chambers, the DPP’s office and in Judicial service to fix whatever may be wrong that she can fix or at least hold constructive discourse about it for starters given she is in the ‘system.’
On the other side though, the unwritten rules may curtail her operations. You can not take on, criticise, arm twist or try and fix your own employer or supervisor in her case government being the supervisor of the entity she works for. In most cases in the employment world especially government, the boss is either right or they are right so dealing with their shortcomings squarely usually means walking away from the job otherwise you have to tow the line at all costs.
And if this turns out to be the case all her positive energy and earnest desire to add value and make a difference may never be put to good use. The gagging may not allow her and the team to flourish.
With this being a rather sensitive Electoral season as she assumes the Presidency, a lot of legal mishaps will definitely show up many of them with her employer government at the centre and in many cases probably being the cause of issues, will she speak up confidently in such cases or take any serious actions with real consequences?
This one will surely be a very hard nut to chew for her, a real Goliath to dare take on, doesn’t mean it’s impossible though!
So we are keenly watching to see how it will turn out and will deliver the review when it all plays out.
Inside the Uganda Law Society though, there has been a seeming general toning down of criticism and any other activities that may irritate the government especially when it is veering off the right path legally at least.
The learned society seems to have learnt to play nice guy with the government in the recent past and this seems to have emboldened the government too to break a few more rules easily after all they have one eye less critically looking at them in a ‘tamed’ ULS that seems not to want to be seen as an antagonist any more but a good quiet friend.
I guess it makes business sense for the society to stay that way as the two may have some mutually beneficial back and forth dealings between them that need to be protected and sustained.
To the general public though, a slow legal system that takes forever to deliver justice, land grabbing getting more rampant abetted by the wealthy and powerful using highly paid for legal services against the poor that can only afford a meal a day just to live for another and corruption in the legal system that has made justice nearly impossible to attain for the have nots, these are some of the real issues President Wall and her team will have to contend with on a daily.
Good thing is her very own have trusted her and believe she is the right person to find a balance between all the negative and positive competing interests around the Uganda Law Society and still deliver the holy grail.
So to the energy filled and passionate President Pheona Wall and her great team congratulations once more as you set sail on this journey, ride the wave, enjoy the thrill, the swings, pangs, twangs, the gut wrenching moments and victories. Just remember there is a report card at the end of this ride when the boat sails ashore that will never be erased!
The author is a senior analyst and media strategist at consulting firm Brothers Intelligence LLC