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Victory for lawyer as court suspends LSK elections

By Faith Karanja | February 9th 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

The High Court has suspended the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) elections set for February 25.

Justice Weldon Korir yesterday issued temporary orders restraining the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) from printing ballot papers for the elections.

He issued the orders following an application by Lawyer Frank Ochieng Walikwe, one of the contestants, who was allegedly denied an opportunity to contest as national council member.

“The applicant has a right to be heard before the elections take place. IEBC should not print the ballot papers until a determination is made,” ordered Korir.

The court directed that the application be served on LSK and IEBC and that the matter be heard inter-parte on Wednesday.

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Through his lawyer Okong’o Omogeni, Mr Ochieng told the court that he was denied the opportunity to participate in the elections for the simple reason that he was not eligible.

Mr Omogeni said that at the hearing of the judicial review application, he will be seeking to quash the decision of LSK to refuse to enter the name of the applicant as one of the contestants.

The court will also be asked to prohibit LSK and IEBC from excluding the name of the applicant from the ballot papers.

Late last year, LSK appointed lawyer Donald Kipkorir to chair the committee with other members of the team being PLO Lumumba, Judy Thongori, Charles Kanjama and Thomas Letangule.

LSK Secretary Apollo Mboya said the five-member committee would ensure that a strong independent administration mechanism is in place for the elections. The matter will be heard on Wednesday this week.

Ochieng claimed that on September 17, 2015, LSK issued a notice of elections requesting the nomination of candidates for elections.

He added that he completed filing the nomination papers and they were returned to him on Friday November 10, 2015.

“I was shortlisted by LSK to contend for the seat of council member at the national office on November 24, 2015,” said Ochieng.

He adds that the Law Society Act provides that a person is eligible to vie for the position provided he is a member of the society and has been in practice for at least two years from the date of admission.

“I have been an advocate of the High Court since January 23, 2014 and therefore I am eligible to vie for the council position,” said Ochieng.

The petitioner claims that he saw the notice on social media on February 1, 2016 informing him that he was not eligible to vie for that position.

He claims that he was not given an opportunity to be heard before LSK reached the decision.

Ochieng claims that LSK has not communicated with him officially and terms its action a violation of the law.

Law Society of Kenya Justice Weldon Korir IEBC
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