This month, we have witnessed arguably the biggest change in the history of the learned fraternity in this country. Forty lawyers were disbarred while forty others were sworn in.
It should be the aspiration of every lawyer to live to the public expectation just as they always pledge whenever they take the oath of allegiance to the profession.
However, considering the reasons for which many of the lawyers were recently deregistered from Kigali Bar Association – the country’s only bar – it is appalling to learn that some of them had gone an extra mile to abuse the lawyer-client privilege of trust by robbing money from their clients.
While we appreciate the need for more lawyers in the country, we strongly condemn those who have continued to abuse the otherwise noble profession.
Therefore there could not be a better decision by the bar association than that of parting ways with the errant friends.
The culprits of the fired lawyers’ sins should be given all the necessary support to seek legal redress as this will not only contribute to the fight against impunity, but will also serve as an example to other practicing lawyers, other professionals, and the public at large.
Just a decade ago, the association had less than twenty qualified lawyers, but today, they boast 306 qualified members.
That necessitates that bar to even keep a firmer grip on the incompliant members.
Nobody needs a lawyer, whose role should be to advocate for justice by defending the victims, to start taking advantage of the desperate parties that need their services.
That said however, the Kigali Bar Association should be applauded for starting and maintaining pro bono services to people who cannot afford legal services.
Such are the services that new members should fully embrace rather than getting involved in corruption and other forms of crimes.
We re-echo the words of the High Court President, Johnson Busingye: “In this kind of profession, doors should always remain open for entry and exit’ not clinging to villains masquerading as attorneys.”
The bar should also embark on ensuring that local lawyers get more acquainted with the international law especially at this time when Rwanda is bidding to inherit the job of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.