Article written by Calvin Makorokotera, a first-year Law student at the University of Zimbabwe
I admit that as a naive first-year student at UZ, I didn’t take Law class immediately because I did not exactly know what Law was. I knew the definition as commonly used with the English Language but I was not quite sure what was studied in Law class. This fear had threatened to quash my interests.
Thankfully, I took Introduction to Law by whosoever, of no essence to mention during August of my first-year and before I knew it I was theorizing. I found studying Law as an undergraduate useful because learning how to read, comprehend and scrutinize the source of Law was an integral foundation of my education. I learned to think critically, and I learned a language that allowed me delve deeper into thoughts and questions.
The first question which came into my mind is, WHAT ARE THE FOUR SOLID REASONS WHY PEOPLE SHOULD/MUST STUDY LAW?
Studying Law, as a first reason, develops one’s understanding of the levers of power in our society in a way that is even more different and effective than that of political science. This is because Law is directly connected with power and reaches into every part of life. For that very reason Law is extraordinarily important to the way of life of any society.
Secondly, the study of Law opens gateways to the UNDERSTANDING OF THE RULE OF LAW. Lawyers refer to the “rule of law” because a society which is governed without no laws leaves ordinary people at the mercy of the arbitrary abuse of power by those who are powerful. However this has a negative effect to the societies which carry a bulk of Law graduates who just sit back, relax while such deplorable situations unfold. These are the type of people who make the position of the profession gets eroded in value in certain instances. Many lawyers are watching while the people’s values and rights are degraded and abused. Why can’t you stand up, use the “rule of law” to do away with arbitrary abuse of power in your countries? No single country is to be mentioned but I believe it has become the knowledge to the public on how people are just watching and not taking substantive action.
In some countries, the rule of law is absent—think of extreme cases like Cambodia under Pol Pot. Life becomes very difficult for ordinary people who have no way of protecting themselves from the powerful. Have we ever witnessed any action of protection taking place in our own countries. If not so, it is better to put an end to the study of Law. It is of no use according to my own view. I can term it a rot.
The study of Law must make a difference through the law itself. Studying the law allows a person who has a strong sense of justice to see where there are defects in the system and to work constructively and effectively to change it. In this sense, studying Law offers the idealistic person a realistic way to make a difference in the world. If there are lawyers on this ground standing firm, especially in Zimbabwe, they are few. Does it mean that these people have not been taught how to perceive the studies in this dimension? Of course, lecturers have no time for that. If you are in Law school and your dimension of reasoning does not direct you from the spheres of idealism to the materialistic reality, you better shift from your field. So they say, your profession as a lawyer will not be anything.
Finally, Law offers a wonderful intellectual challenge in that it develops the ability to argue from a basis of evidence in a way which can be very hard for non-lawyers to counter. However I have seen the so-called lawyers easily crushed down and silenced when it comes to the correction of what we see as unlawful. Where is the problem? I do believe that people are being hesitant to apply the rule of their profession as lawyers. Thumbs up, find a better way to give our profession value. Thanks to the men and women who are trying to do it. I believe it is on its way out.
A lawyer in every country, consider the above four reasons and take action to improve our position as I have done.