South Rift lawyers want one of their own to take over LSK presidency

Former Law Society of Kenya (LSK) President Nelson Havi. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Lawyers from South Rift want one of their own to succeed Nelson Havi as Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president in the upcoming elections.

LSK members from Kericho and Bomet branches on Thursday endorsed Mr Bernard Kipkoech Ngetich, the society's council member and an advocate of the High Court, as their preferred candidate to take reigns at the organisation.

Ngetich, who was endorsed by over 70 lawyers, promised to push the courts to deliver judgments on time.

"I look forward to a new era at LSK where judgments will be delivered in good time to ensure Kenyans get justice as fast as possible and for lawyers to be paid for their services, also in good time," he said.

Others who have expressed interest in the LSK presidency are the society's Nairobi branch chairman Mr Eric Theuri and city lawyer Mr Ombati Omwanza.

Havi exited LSK president, two months to the end of his tenure, and his position was taken over by Linda Kiome, the Mt Kenya Branch Caucus chairperson.

The caucus is set to take charge of LSK till the end of the current regime that lapses in March. 

Havi left office alongside the Secretary and chief executive Mercy Wambua.

Havi and other council members were removed after they failed to comply with a court order to hold a meeting and deliberate on matters relating to the society following wrangles that had crippled its operations.

The High Court order nullified the suspension of Ms Wambua as CEO as well as other council members ordering the society to convene a meeting within 21 days and address the differences failure to which a caucus would take over.

Ngetich is remembered for, among other things, the successful case he filed against the Chief Justice and Judicial Service Commission that saw the High Court order that the judicial calendar on colloquiums, workshops, and training must be aligned with the court calendar of individual judicial officers and supplied to court users.

LSK members from Kericho and Bomet branches endorsed Bernard Kipkoech Ngetich as their preferred candidate. [Courtesy]

He said he wanted to run for the Bureti parliamentary seat but shelved the plan to seek the LSK top job.

"If elected, I will always stand on the side of the rule of law. The wrangles that have been witnessed in LSK in the last 14 months will be a thing of the past under my leadership," said Ngetich.

He said he would also work with the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies so a room is set aside in every court station where suspects can engage with their lawyers.

"We won't want to fight with the police. Instead, we want to have a functioning relationship that is necessary for litigants and suspects to easily access justice," Ngetich said.

He also promised to persuade the LSK council to waive the Sh20,000 practicing fee for the first year for young lawyers joining the profession.

"I will also push the council to reduce the continuous development fee from Sh1,500 to Sh1,000 and the fee for Certificate of Good Standing from Sh1,000 to Sh500," said the lawyer.

He added: "I will also ensure LSK sponsors 100 lawyers for a study in the East Africa Law Society located in Arusha, Tanzania. At the same time, I will ensure at least 1,000 lawyers are registered with LSK Sacco."