Monday, July 10, 2017


At a recent crucial meeting, I found myself in a bit of a fix. I was trying to belabour a point which no one seemed to understand or even care to listen. On more than one occasion, I tried to explain my point. However, the others seemed not to get it. There was a desire to move on and to do what I believed was wrong. It was a hopeless situation as i watched us ride off a cliff on an erroneous position

However, out of the corner of my eye, another lady who had hitherto been ignored, raised her hand and explained my point in a way that made the rest of the team see the light that i was desperately trying to do. The level of relief I felt as the rest of the team ''finally got it'' is to be credited for this blog piece

So it is then - often times we are actually misunderstood. However, this is sometimes our fault because we might be using a language that is too complicated for the rest to comprehend, or an explanation that is to long-winded to be easily understood. I believe this was my shortcoming. Sometimes people are so set up in their ways that they don't have the patience to not only hear you out, but also to try to understand what you are saying or trying to communicate. In my case, i did feel that the former was true. I probably failed to communicate due to the complexity of what I was trying to say
The experience however has challenged me to be more patient with those who sometimes do not seem to understand the position one has held. It reminds me of an individual who tried to offer me a bribe in order for me to perform an illegality. This individual could not understand why i refused. In his book, he felt that it was not his lucky day. He probably was used to paying his way out of a situation regardless of the effect. With hindsight, I now realize that this gentleman knew no better. He had been conditioned to such a modus operandi that anything to the contrary didn't make sense to him. All my attempts to show him otherwise ( which lasted close to forty minutes) failed. However, now i understand. Sometimes people are not in the same frame of mind as one might be. As a result they are unable to understand what one is communicating because of the difference in 'wave lengths'/ 'world views'.

It is no wonder that in the book of Luke 23:34 NKJV, Our Lord Jesus cries out to His Father saying - Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.'' Jesus understood that his tormentors were like new born babes, unaware of the repercussions of their actions. 

My take home is therefore - be patient  and keep calm. Sometimes one doesn't see what you see or comprehend as you do.  What is your take?

Let’s first conduct a Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Religious Policy

By D.R. Ruhweza

One of my favorite childhood stories was the one about the six blind men in India who went to feel an elephant and therefore report what it was. Each blind man felt a specific part of the elephant - from the tusks, to the trunk, to the leg, the ear, tail and even body. Each made a report regarding what they thought the elephant was because of the part that they touched. While one thought the elephant was as small as a snake, another assumed it was as sharp as a spear and so on.

The above story came to my mind when I was pondering about the amount of furore that the draft religious policy has created in our nation. It can safely be said that like the blind men who went to feel the elephant, most of the comments regarding the religious policy – including my own- are true to the extent of the perception of the opinion giver. However, it can also be safely said that each perception might not be what the elephant actually is. Rather, it might be a subset of a bigger issue.

It is therefore prudent, that a process be taken which ensures that all those concerned about the religious policy are not only heard, but are also given opportunity to hear others out. In so doing, it will be possible to have a holistic understanding of what the elephant is. It is therefore upon this background that I hope that the Directorate of Ethics and Integrity, which is the assumed originator of the draft religious policy, carries out a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the draft religious policy. If this has already been done, it will be prudent to share its results including the various options that were given to resolve the problems identified.
A Regulatory Impact Assessment is part of the Regulatory Best Practices initiated by the Cabinet Secretariat in 2004. It is aimed at helping policy makers to carry out an assessment of the impact which the proposed policy options might have on the target group. In so doing, the policy makers are able to better appreciate how our society is likely to be affected by the said policy. The result is that any policy that is made is informed by evidence coming from a RIA process. Generally, a RIA is a ten (10) step process in which the problem that the policy seeks to address is properly assessed and various options on how to address the problem(s) are identified. The RIA also identifies what the anticipated risks of the Policy or any other option will be. In the same process, the gains of the options are analysed, the intent of the proposals are analysed, losers and winners identified, a cost benefit analysis is made, and various options are identified

The RIA also identifies ways in which the policy will be enforced, it notes what the sanctions and reward mechanisms would be, identifies monitoring and evaluation strategies and ensures that these are all in line with national and international policy dispensations.

It is therefore my submission that if the draft religious policy had been submitted to this process, most of the criticisms and concerns that have been raised about it would have been addressed. It is therefore not too late to either carry out a RIA or share the various options that were proposed before we all think an elephant is a like a spear yet we only touched the tasks and not the rest of its body.

The Writer is the President of the Uganda Christian Lawyers’ Fraternity.

Friday, May 19, 2017


By Dr. D.R.Ruhweza[1]

A casual glance at the current political climate in Uganda can easily leave the observer feeling sad and frustrated. This is probably because the stories of hope are stifled by the constant barrage of bad or negative press reports about the way in which our political leaders are behaving. Assuming that the press reports are correct, one would imagine Ugandans have the worst type of leaders and politicians. The news stories regarding the criticism of our Members of Parliament alone depicts greedy, selfish, uncaring, resource wasting, pleasure-seeking bunch of dishonourable group which bribed its way into parliament. However, such a conclusion would be so lopsided in so far as it generally treats all members of parliament as a homogenous entity and thus ignoring the silent, unspoken acts of chivalry, goodwill, kindness and selflessness. Even more importantly, such a conclusion would have assumed that ‘political’ leadership is only the preserve of members of parliaments and elected government officials. This article therefore seeks to concentrate on this aspect of politics in the nation.

In the first place, I wish to assert that we are all politicians and thus, political regardless of our positions in society. All decisions we make, all the voting that we do, all the discussions that we engage in – be they about the status of our roads, hospitals, businesses or schools – these are all political discussions and are part of a very important political process that is even enshrined in the very first Article of our Constitution. As such, we are all responsible for the quality of leadership that we have. In fact, any blame that we levy on an elected (and even unelected) public official is a blame on ourselves. This is because, all these leaders serve at our own whims regardless of who we are. In essence, we jointly and severally, intentionally and unintentionally allow the status quo to be what it is. Put another way, we often receive so many requests to support various causes in the nation – purchasing books for a library, donating blood, paying school fees for a classmate, taking a patient for an operation in India, America or South Africa, buying a cancer machine, etc. All these campaigns are supported by various individuals or groups which don’t fear to be identified, contacted and engaged with. They advocate, speak out, lobby and donate to the cause – hoping to make the situation better than it is. Our reaction to these instances range from indifference, to criticism of who we think  should be answering the call - normally the government to whom our taxes are paid. However, inspite of this negativity, there also those who decide to react positively and go the extra mile of donating that extra coin or joining that charity walk or handing over those useless clothes and articles or participating in that car wash so as to raise a few more shillings to address the situation. These choices are also political choices viewed otherwise. They are exemplary in so far as they encourage or discourage others from doing their part. In essence, the way we react to the aforementioned examples of calls for help and support, is a true reflection of what our political consciousness. As such therefore, politics is part and parcel of us. Therefore, our politicians – be they at the local or national level - are a replica of our attitudes and biases. They are a direct result of our action or non-action. 

At the time of writing this article, some members of the public demonstrated against the members of our parliament by painting piglets in the colours of the leading political parties in Uganda and even tagged each piglet with a name of the politician whose actions they disapproved. This obviously has garnered a lot of reaction from both the members of the august house as well as the public generally. These demonstrators (and many more before them) have chosen to do something about the situation in the nation. Others have chosen to ignore it and hope that it will eventually pass on. However, our reactions may be guided by the book of Genesis 1: 26-26 in which God created man and told them to ‘‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it ; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’’ Similarly the book of Romans 8: 19 says that ‘‘Creation awaits the in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.’’ This means that God expects us to be active participants in the management of the earth and not to be mere onlookers especially when the state of affairs. In his book ‘‘Called To Greatness,’’ Moses Mukisa argues that a crisis (read challenge) is an opportunity for greatness (read intervention). 

I once heard someone say that God never creates a situation in which He is going to be irrelevant. Indeed in light of Romans 8:19, God normally intervenes through us so that His Glory might be revealed. This does not mean that He does not do the miraculous like separating the Red Sea like in Genesis 14: 26 or producing water from a rock, but He still needs a Moses to stretch out his hand over the Sea ( do his part). We are therefore the leaders/politicians that the world is waiting for. We need to lead the way or commence the action expected of us by God. Where there is animosity, we are expected to be the voice of reconciliation. Where there are emotional outbursts that will not help address the stalemate, we are expected to have emotional intelligence to guide the discussion to matters that help the society or the belligerents to arrive at working solutions. We need to be voices of reason, sobriety and wisdom. Voices that direct us (and the world) towards believing in the cause of justice, and not just fomenting the conflict.

Therefore, today, as Uganda continues to reel from the February 18 2016 general elections which many have expressed misgivings about, there is a choice. A choice to either keep sullen and angry and crestfallen, or a choice to stand up and do something. This ranges from going to Court for redress, supporting the court process as amici curiae as some of us did in the recent Presidential Election petition before the Supreme Court, participating in constructive debates and discussions in the public and private spaces, engaging in information sharing on social and other media, etc.  As I write this article, more than 20 members of parliament have been kicked out of parliament for various reasons including but not limited to forging academic papers, bribery, etc. The easier reaction would be to continue lamenting and moaning about how bad our systems have become or choosing the more progressive part of seeking to participate in making things better and starting to restore the walls that have been broken down like happened in the days of Nehemiah. Of course this will mean that we will have to also confront alot of discouragement like Nehemiah received from the likes of Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem  (Nehemiah 4 and 6) but this should not discourage us because he who started the good work in us will bring it to completion.( Philippians 1: 6). In essence, it is time to get out of our safe zones and begin to work to make things better.

The Lord told Joshua son of Nun to ‘arise, go over (the) Jordan ... and EVERY place that the sole of (our) foot will tread upon will be given to us. The Lord further assured Joshua that ‘No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I waswith Moses, so i will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which i swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe  to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever  you go (Joshua 1:1- 8)

It is true that the Uganda Christian Lawyers Fraternity has taken up the mantle especially in the area of providing legal aid to the derelict while at the same time participating in some of the law reform processes. However, there are areas where we have been inactive both jointly and severally – areas such as engaging more in the public space as an impartial voice that seeks to bring sanity to highly charged political debates, engaging in public interest litigation either severally or in collaboration with other organisations whose mission and purpose is in tandem with ours, initiating or supporting bills of parliament that will address some of the social ills or challenges in the nation, improving our social media presence to be relevant to the topic discussions that would benefit from a Christian legal perspective, organising more conferences and workshops and even trainings that will inform and educate the public and the wider legal fraternity, investing in the young lawyers and students as we prepare them for the challenges in the work space, etc.

May the above Scripture be fulfilled in our time as we take up the mantle and be the salt that the world needs. 


[1] The writer is President of the Uganda Christian Lawyers' Fraternity, an Advocate of the Court of Law in Uganda, a law don at the School of Law, Makerere University and a member of the Network of Public Interest Lawyers of Uganda (NETPIL)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Growing up in a traditional environment, one never envisions that they would do the abominable. It is not talked about. You do not consume alcohol, you do not bribe cops, you do not abort or even consider abortion let alone lust after another man’s wife.

That was our training. Children respected their parents and never asked why.  Shamba boys did not talk to their masters with capes on. Househelps were never met in the corridors. If a visitor came by, the best china was unveiled and immediately put away upon their departure. The dogs and cats were a necessary inconvenience. They ate the crumbs that fell from their favourite child’s plate. No special meals or budget for them. Fighting rats, mice, lice and Orumbugu were part of the family joint activities. We talked about certain things but not others. 

The neighbourhoods were alive with drinking local brew, beating up the village thief and stealing mangoes from the old man who was rumoured to be a night dancer.[1] It was never envisaged that villages would be formed of people who did not know the others full name, history, date of birth and parentage. Girls spent the better part of the day weeding, fetching water and learning how to mingle finger bread or to peel plantain (matooke). The boys spent the days in the hills, kicking banana fibre balls, herding and playing pranks on the passers-by.

In the hot afternoons, old mothers sat bare-chested under the mango tree whose bark had been stripped off for medicinal purposes or by the goats. The tree itself would be leaning close to the ground. Having survived many a fight between siblings for dominance over its one old branches but still held back by one of two roots. It had heard many a whisper of love at night and a whimper of sadness for a lost one as a bereaved sought its shade to remember one long gone. Now the old mothers, sat on raffia mats, draped in old thread bare lesu’s as they warded off a lazy fly here and a nosy bee there. Callused feet occasionally crashing to death the scavenging insects and being wiped off with a yellowed mango leaf.

I wonder what stories this mango tree would tell if it had been given voice? Would it recall that spring when as a fruit, it was handed over by one lover to another as they surveyed the plains to choose which way their home would face as they constructed their house? What about the cries of newly born babies or the harsh hurricane that had broken off its apex as a seedling struggling to get its ‘feet’ into the ground having been dropped there by the love struck lass? Would he tree tell of the forest fires that almost burnt it to the ground? The fights of small boys over which yellow fruit mango belonged to who? Of its branches that were cut off for firewood in the days of scarcity? Of its bark that was used to treat the cough? What about the story of the village preacher? The one who brought salvation to the homestead and commenced to use the tree shade as his first church? Would the tree tell of the many souls that were saved under its branches?

I wonder.

[1] Those who laid curses upon others in the dead of the night. Often did so stark naked.

Niwe Oha?**

By D.R. Ruhweza

Niwe oha?**

Are you the disappearing face of my aunt?
Whose bloodied eyes and slaughtered I no longer envision?
Are you the stern bespectacled face of the she-Justice casting ‘fire and brimstone’ at  the terrified defilement suspect in the accused box?
Maybe you are this money they gave me when they butchered my father and boiled him in a huge pot?

Tell me Justice, Niwe oha?**
Are you the small still voice that tells me to forgive?
Or the hard ball of air in my throat which appears when i see the General who burnt my village drive past in a 4WD?
Are you the artificial arm that I look at now or the young man I see at my feet who brings me joy in spite of the fact that he was forced in to me by countless men?

Ah –
Maybe you are the sense of victory (or is it vengeance) when the man who swindled the money for now deceased AIDS riddled cousin is sent off to jail?

Niwe oha? **

**  Runyakitara for ‘’Who are you?’’


Talk delivered by Daniel R. Ruhweza at the Makerere University School of Law Christian Union Reunion and Finalists’ Dinner,  May 3rd 2014 at Piato Restaurant Kampala Uganda.

Thank you for inviting me.

As we celebrate today in which some of the students of the Faculty of Law are leaving, while others are continuing and yet some are just joining, I would like to ask this question,

What is your Vision?

There are two kinds of Vision: A vision can either be directly from God or inspired by God

Peter saw a vision of unclean animals descending from heaven and a voice telling him to kill and eat. He didn’t understand that this was a vision from God showing him that the gospel of Christ will now spread to the gentiles and not remain only with the Jews.  Another scenario is found in Daniel 5 when Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, ‘the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.  The Bible says that the King and is wise men could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. This means that it is possible for one to have a Vision like Peter, without being visionary.

Therefore, let it not be said, that we missed God’s plan and purpose for our lives while at Law School. Woe unto us – whether as students or lecturers, if we miss this chance. For Queen Esther was told by her uncle Mordecai at the time when she doubted whether she could do anything to save the Jews from the hand of Haman, ‘Never know it was for a time like this that you became Queen.’ Taking on Mordecai’s cue, allow me to ask ‘What time is it at the Faculty of Law and in Uganda today?’

A Vision inspired by God starts with God:  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jer 29:11) . It should be noted that a Vision inspired by God involves our own agency.  It has been described as a ‘‘vivid, imaginative conception or anticipation’’ or ‘‘an aspirational description of what we would like to achieve or accomplish in the mid-term or long-term future.’’ It is something we ‘‘ Imagine as a future possibility.’’ Something that is intended to ‘‘serve as a clear guide for choosing current and future courses of action.’’

We have reached a deadlock in Uganda today. We have developed a culture of nfunira wa? (What is my personal benefit out of every situation I am involved in?)

In Uganda today, we are selfish, corrupt and complacent. Remember Pastor Martin Niemoller’s poem?

            First they came for

Edmund Burke also said ‘ All that is necessary for evil to triumph is good men doing nothing’

In Uganda,

We sell expired drugs;

We build in Swamps and watch on as floods sweep our babies away;

We drive badly;

We blame the staff at the School of law for not cleaning away our urine in the toilets;

We cheat in exams;

We applaud corrupt leaders;

We envy thieves who steal Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria;

We preach reconciliation but practice tribalism;

We restrain from telling friends about their makeup gone wrong or zips undone only to gossip about it later;

We cow away from responsibility;

We fear to stand in the gap when there is need and instead blame others for seeking the limelight (bandabe);

We forget that we are watchmen over the city and blood is on our hands( Ezekiel 33). Remember what happened to Israel when they refused to attack when the Lord told them to do so?)

Our country (and the School of Law) needs us - I am reminded of my time at the Law development Centre when my friend Eric Hatanga gave his time to encourage those students who were doing their oral examinations how that helped many students. In spite of his situation, he gave of himself and time and was victorious in passing the exams too. Therefore,

We need magistrates who arrive on time in court;

We need lecturers who are humble enough to admit their failings;

We need lawyers who, far from quoting Latin phrases, will do justice, love mercy and walk humbly before God ( Micah 6:8);

We need Members of Parliament who will not give bribes under the guise of facilitation or abscond from duty to respond to the needs of their constituency because they are promoting the interests of one man;

We need land registrars who will not sign off land transfers because money has been placed between the transfer deeds yet they have not done due and reasonable diligence;

We need policemen who will not only enforce the law but also the spirit and breathe of the same. Policemen who will stand up to and not merely adhere to the whims of “Mr. Above” Police men who will be willing to pay the price for being conscientious objectors to unjust laws. I am reminded  of Martin Luther King Jr. who said ‘ one had the moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws’. St Augustine also said ‘ an unjust law is no law at all’;

We need prosecutors who will listen to their conscience and refuse to prosecute a case that they clearly know is intended to pervert the course of justice;

We need lawyers who will honestly recover the monies of their successful clients instead of using frivolous and vexatious arguments to retain more that they are due;

We need Judges who will not fear to arbitrate matters simply because their friends or relatives are on the wrong side of the law or because their bread is buttered by the person in the wrong

At the Law School,

We need diligent students who will be fair in their criticism of a lecturer or diligent in reading cases, carrying out research and actively participating in tutorials;

We need students who will not shun to clear up the rubbish in the class room; assist weaker students, help the disabled, and be positive influences socially, economically and positively around them;

Students who will visit legal practices and encourage and pray for lawyers and state Attorneys;

Students who will walk up to the Dean’s Office and pray for her to excel, persevere and administer well;

Students who will beautify the School of Law grounds instead of wait for the porters to do so;

Students who will adhere to the adage that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” and keep their rooms, classes and toilets clean;

That, my friends, is positive impact on Community not just spending time praying

So, I ask once again, what is your vision as you leave the School of Law? What is your Vision individually or as the Faculty of Law Christian Union?

We are not merely another Fellowship but a Fellowship if different denominations of Christians who are studying (and in my case teaching) the law at Makerere University. (emphasis mine)

We are specifically located at the oldest University in East Africa. We are a specific profession

We are a critical mass that is being prepared to bring Christian values to the diverse profession of law. Not any one else can do that – ideally- but God can always choose someone else and like Eli the High Priest, who failed to reign in his sons, we can also become irrelevant having lost our saltiness in bringing healing to the wounded in our societies

If we do not style up, God will make the trees and stones do it. He will yank the responsibility from us like He did to King Saul. Like I mentioned earlier, God has a remnant ready. A reserve army. Wow unto us if we are not par t of that reserve army. Like Esther, it is for a time like this that we are in Law School

Let it not be said of us as was said of Belshazzar, ‘‘Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin’’ Mene - God has numbered your Kingdom and finished it. Tekel - That we have been weighed, found wanting  and our Kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians. Let us not be found wanting or lacking in a ‘material particular.’

What therefore is our VISION?

We need this Vision/ purpose  so as to be guided in what we can do , what we can achieve and how we can achieve it. Habakkuk 2:2 : And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. In so doing, we steer clear away from controversy as can easily happen

Vision will make honest lawyers of us. Lawyers who are able to admit their failings and weaknesses but also work towards improving themselves

In so doing, we need to ask how do we relate or partner with other professional student fellowships to advance professionalism in Makerere , Uganda, East Africa, Africa and world over? Can we for example work with the Medical Fellowship to train on the legal rights, responsibilities and health care needs of female prisoners in Masindi Prison?

Let me end with two of my favourite quotes –

Martin Luther King Jr. said

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job so well”  Somewhere it is mentioned that the world will make a beaten path to his door even is he is hidden deep in the forest

Philippians 4:8

Finally brethren, Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things

God bless you