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Lawyers to battle it out for top posts in the profession

COUNTIES
By David Ohito | February 3rd 2014

By David Ohito

Nairobi, Kenya: The Law Society of Kenya is heading to a historic election on Thursday, February 6 where 6,037 advocates whose names are on the voters’ roll, will elect office bearers.

Kenyans wait with bated breath to see how the learned colleagues will conduct their polls and whether the results will reflect the wishes of the members and above all a fair and democratic process.

The elections will be conducted by the Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission after lawyers attempted to overcome previous botched elections which were vulnerable to manipulation.

Some 10,721 advocates are registered and licensed by LSK and include judges, magistrates, prosecutors, legal researchers and in house counsel who ordinarily do not go to court.

The coveted seat of the chair is being defended by Eric Mutua who will battle it out with Charles Kanjama and Ambrose Weda. The vice chair has Lillian Rene Omondi defending her seat against Faith Waigwa.

The election to the Judicial Service Commission is a war of more experienced hands and has attracted Senior Counsel (SC) Professor Tom Ojienda, Okong’o Omogeni, outspoken Ahmednassir Abdullahi and Nairobi advocate Ndegwa Kabaru who is yet to be name an SC.

JSC has had its fair share of challenges and needs a strong candidate who will help resolve problems. Omogeni will face questions about his ODM affiliation and tenure on the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission advisory board.

OJienda will defend his tenure at the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission over expunging sections of the report and deletion of big political names, a process he claims was voted for unanimously by all commissioners.

A straight talking Ahmednassir is seen by some younger lawyers as rebel with a cause but will battle his character described by others as arrogant, and fend off a petition filed by Mr Bryan Yongo in court that he is not fit to be a senior counsel, for allegedly having forged his admission to the bar after completing pupilage. Mr Peter Simani who signed his certificate died in the Westgate terror attack.

Two positions have already been filled after two upcountry representatives were endorsed unopposed-Caroline Khasoa and Godfrey Kisiwa.

Some 12 positions for council members are up for grabs and have attracted 22 candidates among them Allan Kosgey, Alex Gichuhi, Alfred Opiyo, John Oscar Juma, Donald Rabala, Gertrude Angote, James Mwamu and Grace Okumu.

In an ideal situation, the lawyers should set high standards of integrity, demonstrate respect for the rule of the law and administration of justice for the poor and the rich alike. In short they should not make the mistakes lay people would commit in an electioneering process.

The LSK as a professional association plays a big role in the implementation of the Constitution, upholding the rule of the law and the general administration of justice besides internal functions to protect the welfare of its members.

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