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Archive for October, 2010

The Uganda High Court

A year ago a story appeared in the Ugandan newspapers that caught my eye. It was a complaint from the owner of Kampala International University, Hassan Bassajjabalaba. The gist of it was that law students who graduated from KIU subsequently went on the fail the Bar exam set by the Law Development Centre. Thus they can’t hold the certificate of legal practice and therefore cannot practice as advocates of the Uganda High Court.

Fair enough for him to complain, but the reasons for his complaint were downright silly. He felt students who did not go to Makekere University were discriminated against and he proposed that more centres for post graduate legal training need to be opened. Clearly easier exams would be set and more students would pass the Bar exam and stream into the legal profession.

Now two weeks ago this same issue emerged again. This time the complaint came from the association of university law students or something to that effect. The gist of the complaint was that due to the increased number of law graduates applying to the LDC, the centre was now administering an entrance exam, which the usual suspects from privately owned universities failed. So they ranted and raved about discrimination and unfairly high standards being demanded by the legal proffession ( yes, thats what they said). And the solution was the same, open more centres for the training in the post graduat diploma in legal practice.

The worry for me is nobody is questioning whether the quality of legal training in the various law schools in Uganda is actually up to scratch. In fact private universities offer really questionable study programmes accross the board, but it all falls under the radar. However, for lawyers, they have to sit one levelling exam set by the LDC, and that is where to lie that university education has become has been stripped bare for all to see it for what it is. University education is basically a business, taught by inadequately qualified lecturers to large classes of students who have endured six years of a high sschool education that no longer prepares them for university, it only gets them to pass their A-levels.

Bar exams are tough all over the world and this makes sure that only the best actually practice as advocates. It is a standard that must be maintained for the sake of the general public. Setting up more training centres for post graduate diploma is fine, but the exam must remain the same, regrdless of what fancy new university one comes from. I am sure our learned friends will be the first to point out that holding an LLB degree does not a lawyer make. I hope the legal fraternity will stand up to the challenge of maintaining standards in their noble profession especially as I can forsee an onslought from the politically well connected entrepreneur who has a financial payday at risk if the law degree issued by KIU is seen to not quite cut the mustard.

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A foggy morning in kabale, Uganda

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I spent a few days in Kampala recently and my biggest joy was to discover a great cup of coffee, which has been a treasure hunt of sorts for me every time i go back to the mother country. I found it in a  cafe latte served up at the Game branch of the ‘Good African Coffee’ chain of cafes. Even better was that there was a supervisor who kept the staff on their toes because my coffe was late in coming…….and I had not even complained! Good coffee and good service! Something is happening in Kampala.

It kept getting better as I had another delightful cafe latte and a muffin at the Garden city branch of Cafe Pap, all served with a smile. I was in heaven. I have long since forgotten having to walk up to the counter to insist on paying the bill at their town centre branch last year.

And when I got to the airport I found another branch of the Good African Coffee brand and the service was fast, friendly and memorable. I have griped alot about  slow and tedious and often ‘I don’t care’ attitudes one can experience when eating out in kampala, but my last visit tells me the culinary scene is on the right track….and its about time.

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Moses Kipsiro Wins 10,000m at Commonwealth Games in New Delhi

It has been a great week for Ugandans , the flow of Patriotic fervour has never been seen before, ever! And Moses Kipsiro  had a lot to do with it by taking a double gold at the commonwealth games by beating 3 kenyan favourites in both the 5,000m and 10,000m had everyone, including the world, positively gobsmacked.

So it is hurtful and annoying for stories to surface saying that Kipsiro is actually kenyan born.Preposterous and bordering on sour grapes indeed, but also an opportunity for a record to be set straight…for the kenyan public.

The British did not care where they ran the border line between colonies and protectorates, Keeping families and tribes togethor was too much detail and too much trouble to put up with when dealing with the ‘natives’. Hence if you cross the kenyan border at Kitale into Uganda you enter Bukwa District and further on is Kapchorwa district, all on the slopes off Mt. Elgon.

The people in this region are the Sabiny and they are Kalenjin speaking. Towns in the region include Kaproron, Suam, Bukwa, Kapchorwa, Kapenguria etc. Names that would blend in with any names in Kenya’s northen rift.

The peoples names are  are also of Kalenjin origin so Chelangat, Kiplagat, Kispiro and Chebet are not an exception, they are actually the norm.

During 2009 Uganda Schools Athletics championships Bukwa and Kapchorwa districts dominated. Names that we may here in the future include: Chepremoi, Chepkemoi, Chemto and a Chelangat. Kenyans? No, Ugandans. So was the guy who came 4th in the 3000m steeple chase final at the Delhi commonwealth games and his name is Kiplagat.

Moses Kispiro is Ugandan, born and bred in Chesimat, Kapchorwa district. And we felt great pride as he carried the flag draped across his shoulders after winning his two gold medals. Uganda does not need nor can it afford to do what the Qataris and Bahrainis do to get athletic talent.

Incidentally the tension packed Afria cup of nations qualifier at Nyayo stadium last saturday revealed a star in the Ugandan goalkeeper. His name is Onyango. Dare I hold my breath waiting for a claim that he is Nyanza born?

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Kenya Regiment final parade 1964

 

 

Kenya Regiment final parade 1964

The Kenya regiment was a predominantly white military outfit that saw active duty during the Mau Mau insurgency. The atrocities committed during that campaignstill scar kenya. They held a final parade on the streets of Nairobi in 1964 and were superceded by the present day Kenya armed forces.

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