6 February 2017 - ‘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’. 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 Kevin Malunga,
South Africa’s Deputy Public Protector