-African Bar President says
The President of the African Bar Association (AfBA) says that the African Union (AU), which most African believe is just a ‘talk shop’ with no direct bearing on the lives of Africans.
Hannibal Uwaifo, who spoke on on Monday, October 21 in Monrovia, said that the AU needs to wake-up to her responsibilities, and finds practical solutions to issues of corruption, human rights abuses, regional armed conflicts, nepotistic, bureaucracy, accountability cross boarder problems, and other numerous challenges, which the ordinary Africans face daily.
Uwaifo made the statement at the opening of a four –day annual conference of the AfBA that is ongoing at the Ministerial Complex in Congo Town, Monrovia.
The AfBA president reminded his audience that include lawyers from the continent, and other part of the world to include the USA, that Africa is at the crossroads, and the duty of lawyers in positioning and repostioning the continent cannot be overemphasized.
“The role of the Bar Associations and individual lawyers is needed, more than now before, and we must use the instrumentality of the law to take Africa to the promised land,” Uwaifo challenged his colleagues.
Uwaifo said Egypt, Nigeria, Uganda Cameroon and the DR. DR Congo are countries that are topping what he considered as “disobedience of court orders, harassment of judges, appointment of cronies to man judicial positions, prosecution of opposition voices and bad governance.”
He added that Rwanda is famous for the harassment, detention, and disappearance of opposition figures, stressing, “All of these have to stop.”
Uwaifo said that the African Bar strongly condemned violation of any type across the continent, advising the lawyers by saying, “I call all lawyers to rise up in defence of our citizens using an lawful means to challenge these evils.”
About corruption, Uwaifo said corruption is a violation of the rule of law that is breeding socioeconomic and political hardship, and is mostly responsible for armed conflict that still dots the African landscape.
“From Egypt, Sudan, Angola and so on to Rwanda, Cameroon, Malawi , Central Republic of Africa (CAR) , Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Togo and so on, violation of human rights and the rule of law are still being recorded at an alarming scale,” the AfBA president noted.
Uwaifo also said the frightening dimension which xenophobia has taken particularly in South Africa is worrisome and a serious challenge to the cohesion and unity of Africans.
“The African Bar Association has joined in the condemnation of this vice that has led to the untimely death of several Africans maiming of others and the evacuation of many more,” Uwaifo emphasized.
“How Africa has fared since these latest inputs from the African Bar Association?” Uwaifo wondered, “It is my respectful view that while progress have certainly been made since 2016, there were also several setbacks and a lot of progress still needs to be made to make Africa the continent the world needs to be in and do busines with.”
In his welcome remark, Cllr. Tiawon Gongloe, president of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), lauded the AfBA for selecting Liberia as a venue of this year conference.
Gongloe said that since the formation of the AfBA in 2007, this was the first time that the LNBA is hosting such international events that include sharing of the knowledge of the law on very importation issues facing the African continent.