Ray Rukoro NOW FULLY ABOARD Lorentz Angula

By By Dorcas Mhungu
September 2011
On the Move

Lorentz Angula Attorneys recently appointed Ray Rukoro as director making him the 12th Director of one of Namibia’s leading law firms.

Rukoro joined the company in 2006, and was admitted as a legal practitioner in 2007 after completing his articles. Soon after that he, climbed the organisation’s ladder with ease.

“I moved through the ranks from Associate, to Senior Associate until recently when I became director,” he says with a modest tone that veils his command.

Rukoro, who joined Lorentz Angula in its infancy, is proud to be one of the first candidate legal practitioners to be hired by the law firm.

While studying for his Masters, Rukoro juggled between working for Lorentz Angula and the University of Namibia but after one year, he decided to become a full time employee with Lorentz Angula Inc and continued lecturing part-time at Unam until last year.

“When I joined, I had to make a decision between whether I wanted to be involved in the actual practice of law or not so I had to basically choose between a career in the academia and a career in practice and I opted for the latter.”

Being a young lawyer, Rukoro’s decision to choose private practice had been premised on the fact that he considered the academia as crowded mostly by older people.

His assumption that the journey to the highest echelons of the corporate ladder was going to be a short lived path, were quashed once he started practicing.

“I soon realised that you get a bigger contribution by actually being involved directly. In private practice you are confronted with real situations and real human beings that need your assistance and before I knew it, I fell in love with it and was enjoying it and I am here five years and counting,” Rukoro says.

In 2001, he had enrolled for B Juris degree at the Unam and was capped in 2005 with an LLB degree in Law. Thereafter, he enrolled for a Masters, also through Unam but in collaboration with a university in Germany.

He started working for Unam first as a student assistant in the Faculty of Law and later worked for WTO trade policy course for English Speaking Africa whilst he was finishing a thesis on Marine Fisheries Law for the Masters.”

But as a child, Rukoro was mesmerised by several careers and had several career options. He wanted to be a policeman, a teacher, fireman or even a doctor, but he says deep down in his heart, he knew the profession he would settle for later had to do with communication.

“Despite the fact that I was very shy, I thought I would become a teacher,” He says, explaining why he spent a year studying for a Bachelor of Education degree which he abandoned in preference to law that would offer better career opportunities.

“I am proud of where I am. The road I have walked without saying I am exactly where I want to be, I think I am proud of what I have achieved. A lot of people of my background are not where I am, not because they don’t want to be but because circumstances did not allow them to be, so I am proud of the fact that I am here and at the same time humbled by the fact that where there is a will, one will find a way.”

Rukoro says getting to where he is now was not easy going; “I didn’t have it easy. I had a lot of hardships but you look back and are proud of the person that you have become. I am also proud of the fact that if there is something to see in a person, people will see without you selling it off to them and I think that is my circumstances here.

“I worked here without expecting a promotion or being invited to be a stakeholder in the entity and when it happened it humbled me. Lorentz Angula makes a good pot of experience and made of a good composition.”

As litigation lawyer Rukoro runs a general practice with specialisation in commercial civil litigation, criminal law, family law in both Magistrate’s Courts and High Court.

According to Rukoro being a litigator can be rewarding as it exposes you to ground breaking cases in the interpretation, understanding of law and legal process.

According to Rukoro there are various cases that are memorable and exciting that come to mind. He was involved in defending accused persons charged under the relatively new Corruption Act and is of the opinion that despite the number of good work undertaken by the Anti Corruption Commission a lot still needs to be done to sensitise Namibians on practices that constitute corruption and also the need to harmonises cultural practices with the ethos of the Act.

Besides his mother, Rukoro also expresses his gratitude to his high school teacher at Okahandja Secondary School, Mrs Bernadette Hess whom he says groomed him to become a good communicator and taking him out of the cocoon of shyness to an award winning public speaker at university and now a rhetorician in court.

Describing his childhood personality, Rukoro says from a very early age, he decided to operate behind the scenes and was never at the forefront, contrary to his every day experiences with his profession now.

”I was never a contestant in the sphere of life but a spectator. I don’t mean not being influential but I never allowed myself to be in the arena. I preferred the backstage, working behind the scenes. I felt that to rule or to be popular is people’s perception and it’s what you feed them that make them decide whether you are popular or unpopular. So I decided at that stage I don’t want society to make me what I don’t want to be.

“The biggest disappointment for me is that there is a picture painted about law if you ask me. The perception in society is either a glorified profession in the sense that you are either held in high regard, or on the converse of that, society looks at you as a liar. The person that twists people’s words and makes free a convicted man, but I think society forgets until the person is actually involved, until this specific person is charged and that is the only time that they actually only recognise the worth of a lawyer . That’s a disappointment because I think lawyers have a bigger role to play than just getting acquittals on criminal matters,” Rukoro says.

While efforts are being made to train more legal practitioners in Namibia, Rukoro argues that the intakes are large and it becomes difficult for a lecturer to stand in front of a big group let alone do justice to marking and giving everyone a fair chance of either passing or failing.

As a former Unam law lecturer, other universities have a professor and three assistants that teach a specific course, but at Unam one person attends to one course. “Either we should return smaller classes or if we go big we must expand the resources to cater for the ballooning in student numbers because ultimately we can have as many as we want to admit but the quality will be compromised,” says Rukoro.

He hopes that the university will look beyond conventional law to cater for other facets of law like specialisation in corporate law, marine resources law, medicinal law, or media technology law.

As a former student and lecturer at the University, Rukoro says there is need for the curriculum to have more emphasis to practical training without necessarily compromising on substantive law. PF

Also on the Move this Month

Mariena Brendell has been appointed Manager for Bank Windhoek’s Micro Finance branch with effect from 1 August 2011. Brendell joined Bank Windhoek in 2002 and moved through the ranks to Manager: Operations of the Micro Finance branch. She is succeeding Job Mouton, who was appointed Manager of Bank Windhoek’s Property Finance branch.

Herbert Maier is the new Chairman of the Standard Bank Namibia Board. Maier, replaces long-time serving Chairman, Advocate Dave Smuts who was appointed as a Judge to the High Court of Namibia. Maier is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a registered Stockbroker, on both the Johannesburg and Namibia Stock Exchange with 25 years’ experience in the financial services sector in various roles, covering corporate financial management, stock broking, and private equity.

Mrs Nathalie Schroeder was recently appointed New Vehicle Sales Manager for Mercedes-Benz M+Z Motors New Passenger Vehicle division with effect from 1 August 2011. Mrs Schroeder joined M+Z MOTORS in 2006 and successfully managed the Chrysler/Jeep / Dodge Sales branch in Windhoek.

Liz Sibindi, has been appointed Manager of Corporate Communications at NamPort in Walvis Bay with effect from September 1. She bids farewell after seven and half years of service with the City of Windhoek.