‘One world; one people’. This is how Advocate Kevin Malunga, South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector, described those who inhabit Africa, as he welcomed Master’s students from all over the continent to the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria on Friday 3 February 2017. Presenting the keynote address under the theme ‘Thoughts on the African lawyer’s role in globalising the rule of law, integrity and economic advancement and justice’, Advocate Malunga challenged students to become ‘rebels with a cause’. 

pdfDownload Adv Kevin Malunga's Keyonote address

This cause, he proposed, should be to make a difference to a world where the forces of racism, xenophobia and the ‘othering’ of minorities are gaining increasing prominence. In making this challenge, he referred to developments in the Gambia and praised the long-awaited end to President Yahya Jammeh’s 22-year presidency.

During the question and answer session, Advocate Malunga observed with concern that a common theme in African leadership is the refusal to give up power. He gave the example of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 31 years. President Museveni in 1986 said ‘the problem of Africa in general and Uganda in particular is not the people, but leaders who want to overstay in power.’ However, in 2016, Museveni departed from this view, saying he is not the servant of the people, and that they cannot ask him to step down.

Advocate Malunga noted that this theme continues in the actions of Teodoro Mbasongo – President of Equitorial Guinea - who in fact is providing a safe haven for President Yahya Jammeh. He reminded students that for so long as African leaders remain tolerant of dictatorship, the continent will not enjoy peace and the rule of law.

The Dean of the Faculty of Law, Professor Andre Boraine, the Director of the Centre, Prof Frans Viljoen, and the Assistant Director, Norman Taku, welcomed the new students, who will in 2017 study towards two programmes: the LLM/MPhil in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa (HRDA) with 28 students from 18 countries and the LLM in Trade and Investment Law in Africa (TILA) with 24 students from 14 countries. In 2017, the HRDA and TILA programmes will for the first time run concurrently.


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