Thursday, September 25, 2014
Ugandans Should Tame the LDC Monster
By Bakampa Brian Baryaguma
On Monday, 29 September, 2014, the latest batch of entrants to the Law Development Centre (LDC) will begin their Bar course studies, for the 2014/2015 academic year. LDC admitted a total of 661 students this academic year. This is the highest number of admitted students ever, in LDC history. On my own behalf and indeed, on behalf of my team that is pursuing the ‘Complaint Concerning Under-Performance of Law Development Centre,’ currently before the Parliament of Uganda, I wish them all the best in their studies. The aforesaid complaint is available online at http://www.bbbakampa.blogspot.com/2014/05/complaint-concerning-under-performance_10.html.
Of the 661 students who were admitted, 552 of them were candidates for this year’s LDC pre-entry exam organized by the Committee on Legal Education and Training of the Law Council, which a total of 1300 lawyers sat for. This means that 748 lawyers failed this year’s exam, whose pass mark is said to be 50%. The other 109 students are those who had previously sat and passed the pre-entry examination in 2011, 2012 and 2013, but had nevertheless failed the Bar course and couldn’t graduate from LDC. Many of them had re-sat the subsequent pre-entry exam and failed it again.
Today, I write in reference to my earlier publication entitled, ‘Beware of the Deception and Fraud Underlying the LDC Pre-Entry Exam,’ published on this blog (visit http://bbbakampa.blogspot.com/2014/08/beware-of-deception-and-fraud.html) and substantially reproduced in the Saturday Vision newspaper of August 9, 2014, at page 9, under the heading, ‘Pre-entry exam at LDC is a trick to control numbers due to lack of space.’ We are very grateful to Saturday Vision.
In that publication, I said that the pre-entry exam is deceptive and fraudulent. That it is deceptive because, it is continuously imposed for the mischievous purpose of ‘eliminating stampeding and congestion at LDC, by keeping away as many applicants as possible,’ under the false declaration that students failed the exam, yet the truth is that LDC simply doesn’t have enough space to accommodate all those eligible to join it. I also stated that the exam is fraudulent because exorbitant fees are charged for it (Uganda shillings one hundred thousand only – Ugx 100,000/- – per candidate), ‘... yet its administrators know very well that for an overwhelming majority of the [candidates], it is an automatic dead-end – they will not be admitted to LDC!’ I said then and maintain now, that this exam is extortionist. If anybody thought that I was wrong or deceiving, then in this year’s Bar course admission numbers lies your indisputable answer.
It is for these and other reasons in the complaint that my colleagues and I strongly argue that LDC is a terrible, cruel, oppressive and tyrannical monster, which mercilessly devours lawyers in Uganda and should therefore, be tamed and prevailed upon by Ugandans, by at least breaking the monopoly over the Bar course that it currently enjoys. Dear reader, just ask yourself these simple questions: what next for those 748 lawyers who allegedly failed the pre-entry exam, after about 20 years of dedicated study and hard work? Is it really that they are dull and didn’t understand the law as claimed by LDC? Or is it a problem of all our universities from where these students come? In the unlikely event that it is, how does Government of Uganda explain their licences and continued operation? How do LDC and the Law Council account for the Uganda shillings seventy four million, eight hundred thousand only (Ugx 74,800,000/-) they paid in applications to join the Centre and sit the pre-entry exam? What about their parents, guardians, other relatives and friends, all of whom had a lot of trust and hope in them, on account of which they invested so much? What about their communities and country as a whole that looked forward to benefiting from their skills and expertise for development purposes?
We contend that the Bar course can and should be taught by the universities from where those negatively affected lawyers came. That will go a long way to save on theirs and other concerned people’s energy and resources especially, in terms of time and money. Moreover, in my previous publication, I informed the nation that passing the pre-entry exam is not a guarantee to legal practice. More than half of those who are admitted to the Bar course do not graduate!
Dear reader, if you genuinely ask yourself the above and any other related questions and honestly answer them; and then consider the practical realities underlying LDC’s incurably defective system, you will definitely find merit in what we are saying. On the face of it, LDC may appear to have increased space and admitted more students, but the statistics indicate that the demand to study the Bar course is far increasing ahead of LDC’s capacity to accommodate the annual applicants. We shouldn’t therefore, be duped into believing that all is well or that things are getting better.
It is possible to defeat this inhuman system and the cabal that is busy profiting from it. That is why for instance, following my publication exposing the deceit and fraud presided over by LDC and the Law Council through their joint exam, they were so embarrassed that in order to save face, they decided to exempt the 109 former LDC students from re-sitting the pre-entry exam, even after most of them had already paid the application fees. Interesting! Isn’t it? For this, may God be praised and thanked; for He has given us enormous power to shake and move things, making them happen the way they should be. So, please, make your due contribution. Here is the secret to success: start where you are; use what you have; and do your best. Then God and others will do the rest.