Nelson Havi ousted as LSK chair, Linda Kiome takes over

Linda Kiome-Gitonga addresses the press at her office on Gitanga road on January 13, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi has been ousted after failing to comply with a court order to convene a special general meeting.

The LSK Branch Chairs Caucus officially took over the running of the society to mark the end of Havi’s two-year reign.

Linda Kiome, from the LSK Mt Kenya branch, was elected acting president until fresh elections are held in March.

The caucus declared that Havi will no longer act on behalf of LSK as president after his term, which was to end on March 24, was brought to an end by failing to comply with the court order.

The court order had directed him to convene a council meeting within 21 days.

Acting LSK President Linda Kiome-Gitonga flanked by the society branch chair caucus when she addressed the press at her office on Gatanga Road on January 13, 2022. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

“The council had not convened at the expiry of the 21 days given by the court and the failure means that the LSK Branch Chairs Caucus has taken over. Effectively, Linda Kiome will be the LSK spokesperson and perform all functions of the society’s president,” said the caucus.

Kiome will be deputised by Mathew Nyabende from the Coast branch while the new council will have Justus Mutia (South Eastern branch), Eric Theuri (Nairobi), Sussy Rautto (West Kenya Branch), Henry Kenei (North Rift), John Ochang’ (Rift Valley) and Wilkins Ochoki (South West branch).

She said they are assuming office pursuant to the judgment by Justice Anthony Mrima on December 20, and that their task is to put the LSK house in order after several wrangles that ensued during Havi’s tenure.

“We had our first meeting after taking over from January 11 and some of the urgent items on our table are the impending LSK elections, special general meeting, and efficient service delivery to members,” said Kiome.

The LSK Branch Chairs Caucus also said the Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua’s term also expired on January 10 after Havi failed to call the special general meeting and that they will deliberate on reorganising the secretariat before the elections.

Justice Mrima in December sought to restore normalcy at the troubled LSK when he gave Havi a final chance to call a members' meeting within 21 days which expired on January 11, failing which the society’s branch chairs would take over.

LSK was in 2020 rocked in unending battles which divided the council down the middle, with one side led by Havi while the other wing led by lawyer Bernhard Ngetich.

Justice Mrima, in his December 20 decision, reversed a controversial decision that had been made by the Havi-led wing, including firing the society’s CEO Mercy Wambua, and ordered all the council members opposed to Havi to return and to hold meetings to return the society to normalcy.

The judge noted that the then state of affairs of the once formidable professional society was pathetic and that the only solution was to have the meeting to iron out the differences, failure to which the branch chairs would take over.

The LSK Chairs Caucus reassured the members that it will do everything to return society to normalcy in accordance with Justice Mrima’s directives.