Uganda Law Society President Bernard Oundo has completed his two-year term of office as the President of East Africa Law Society (EALS) and has been replaced by a former Judge of the High Court of Tanzania.
Bernard Oundo was elected to the EALS presidency in 2020 after losing that year’s Uganda Law Society (ULS) presidential vote to Pheona Nabasa Wall by a tight margin.
A relentless Oundo would later come to succeed Pheona Nabasa Wall two years later after winning the ULS presidency in September, 2022 – he has thus been holding a dual presidency of both the ULS and EALS in the past two months.
The election of a new President of the regional lawyers’ lobby and its governing council was the culmination of the three – day 27th conference and general meeting of the East Africa Law Society held over the weekend at the luxurious Gran Meria hotel in Arusha, Tanzania.
About 600 lawyers from the region and beyond are reported to have attended the conference which was graced by Tanzania’s President Samia Hassan Suluhu.
Dr. Fauz Twaib, the incoming president of the EALS, is a senior partner at Rex Advocates in Tanzania, a position he joined in July 2020 after serving for 10 years as Judge of the High Court of Tanzania.
As a legal practitioner and academic, Dr. Fauz Twaib bears 17 years of experience.
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In a post on LinkedIn, ULS President Bernard Oundo postulated that during his tenure, focus was put on boosting member engagement through committees including women lawyers and young lawyers focused committees.
At the conference, appreciation awards were given to different lawyers in the region for their services in the leadership of EALS committees.
Oundo also said the EA Law Society pushed for regional integration, advocated for human rights, good governance including through a petition at the East African Court of Justice challenging the internet blockade in Uganda’s 2021 election.
“ My most exciting highlight was getting Tanganyika Law Society [TLS] to join the EALS. When we joined, there were issues with TLS, there was no compulsory membership, but am humbled to say that we had discussions with President Hoseah and his Council and they are now fully on board as a member Bar association.” Bernard Oundo said.
“ We reached out to DRC, upon its integration [into the East African Community] and commenced discussions with their Bars and hope these discussions will be pursued further.” Oundo added.
Unlike a typical national bar association such as the Uganda Law Society, the East Africa Law Society is not established by a state-backed legal framework outlining its mandate succinctly.
The organization was founded 27 years ago by “a group of Lawyers with the support of the leadership of the national Bar Associations of the [then] member states [of the East African Community]” according to its website.
Membership to the East Africa Law Society is both individual and institutional. The institutional members of the body currently being national bar associations of the member states of the East African Community apart from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Individuals have to pay $20 as annual membership fee.
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Tanzania’s President Samia Hassan Suluhu pledged to grant 10 acres of land requested for by the EALS on which its headquarter will be constructed.
Samia reportedly hinted on Tanzania rejoining the African Court on Human and People’s Rights after challenges that led to the country’s quitting of the court are addressed.
“Tanzania was the one with the highest number of cases filed by individuals and civic groups with over 200 applications most of them focused on creating a bad image of the government.” Samia Hassan Suluhu reported as saying.
Article updated to include images of Treasurer Byabazaire and Secretary General Florida and to add detail on membership to the EALS (paragraph 14 to paragraph 16).
Benjamin is a Legal writer and digital media enthusiast who founded The Legal Reports website in January, 2020 while a fourth year law student at Makerere University school of law.
Prior to that, Benjamin used to write amateur blogs and some of his legal commentaries were published by the Daily Monitor and Independent Magazine – both leading publications in Uganda. He covers lawyers, law students, judges, judiciary, courts, law schools, and law firms.