Senior lawyer and law don, Prof. Fredrick Ssempebwa has offered tips on how businesses can last longer and get into other generations.
Prof. Ssempebwa is a partner at Katende Ssempebwa & Co. Advocates commonly known as KATS, one of the country’s successful law firms.
His other partner is Senior Counsel, John Winston Katende, whose book, The Man Of Many Firsts, was launched on Monday at Aristoc, Acacia Mall.
Prof. Ssempebwa and Katende first met at the University College in Dar es Salaam in 1966. From Dar es Salaam, Prof. Ssempebwa said Katende joined Harvard University.
They would later reunite at Makerere University in the early 1970s from where they pioneered the Faculty of Law at Makerere University. It was at Makerere University that they started the law firm.
However, according to Prof. Ssempebwa, their law firm offices have so many other things. This, he said, is because Katende was into so many other things.
For instance, the Bulange, the seat of the Kabaka, started from their office. This is said to be at a time when Katende was negotiating the return of Kabaka Mutebi II.
Secondly, the law firm had Ebonies. Katende founded Ebonies in 1977 and housed it in the same office that had the law firm. Prof. Ssempebwa said it is about tolerating the other partner. He also noted that he was into sport yet Katende was not.
“We scored many firsts together,” Prof. Ssempebwa says.
Their firm played a pivotal role in Uganda’s U-turn on the death penalty in 2007 by helping to prove to the Constitutional Court that the death penalty for murder and other offenses was unconstitutional. They had also earlier on played a fundamental role in erasing all sub-sections of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda that had in 1966 abolished traditional institutions from the country. Simultaneously, the firm also managed to come up with relevant laws that enabled the return of all the properties that had been forcefully confiscated from Buganda and other Kingdoms by former Ugandan regimes. These constitutional amendments eventually led to the coronation of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and other traditional rulers in 1993.
However, today, almost all Katende’s children including Sim Katende are lawyers and are practicing with Katende Ssempebwa & Co. Advocates.
While presiding over the book launch as Chief Guest, former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe, Katende’s 1971 student of law at Makerere University, said Katende was “a colourful lecturer.”
“He kept the class alert and that’s what we liked,” Katureebe said. “You have impacted us. You have left a legacy,” Katureebe added.
However, Katureebe revealed that keeping in the background has been Katende’s problem.
“He has built his success with honor and integrity,” Katureebe said.