Congratulations trickled in yesterday evening after Nelson Havi (pictured) was announced the new Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president.
Lawyers across the country had turned up in large numbers to vote for the president of their professional body. In Western Kenya, upbeat crowds of lawyers trooped to the Kisumu law courts to cast their vote.
Although the region did not produce a candidate to contest the LSK presidency seat, members led by regional chairman Bruce Odeny told journalists that they had faith in the candidates on the ballot.
Among the issues that the advocates said they want addressed are the rise in cases of quack lawyers who have invaded the profession, as well as having the voice of LSK in the referendum debate.
Some lawyers felt the society had been silent on pertinent issues affecting the public and their profession.
“Our leaders must address the issue of quack lawyers and come up with a strategy to address the issue,” said Mr Odeny.
Candidates who were eyeing the presidency included Mr Havi, Maria Mbeneka, Charles Kanjama and Harriet Chiggai.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) officials who conducted the exercise told The Standard that the process was free and fair, and devoid of hitches.
Patrick Oname, the returning officer at the Kisumu Law Courts, told The Standard that only one lawyer had been turned away by mid-day after his name was not found in the register.
Although Kisumu had a total of 200 registered voters, lawyers drawn from the wider region were allowed to participate in the exercise, which did not interfere with the daily court proceedings.
In the North Rift LSK chapter, 281 members queued at the Eldoret High Court polling station to elect their representatives.
Led by Nandi Governor Stephen Sang, the members drawn from Iten, Kapsabet, Kapenguria and Kitale towns started casting their vote at 8.30 am under the supervision of IEBC presiding officer Jane Gitonga.
When giving updates on the results, she said by 4pm, 197 members had cast their votes, which is 69.2 per cent of the total targeted figure, and added that out of these voters, 12 were from outside the town.
“The outgoing leadership of the LSK has failed Kenyans in terms of pushing for implementation of infrastructural projects and delivery of services in the corridors of justice,” said Mr Sang.
“We have seen several times the government and those serving under it in senior positions ignore court orders, and the society has done nothing to ensure the rule of law is respected.”
He added that said since the Handshake between President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga, the country has been left without an Opposition to check the excesses of government, and it is a void that LSK should fill.
(Report by Harold Odhiambo, Anne Atieno and Peter Ochieng)
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