Judge ends LSK chaos, orders council to bury the hatchet

LSK Chief Executive Officer Mercy Wambua.

The High Court in Nairobi has moved to restore normalcy at the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) whose members have been caught up in a fight.

The court directed Law Society Council members to meet within 21 days, failing which the society’s branch chairs will take over.

The lawyers’ lobby has for the better part of the year been a Tower of Babel with two councils, a caretaker council headed by LSK President Nelson Havi and a second one led by lawyer Bernhard Ngetich flexing their muscles.

Justice Anthony Mrima kicked out the Havi-led caretaker council, reversed its resolutions, including firing the society’s CEO Mercy Wambua. The judge also ordered all the council members opposed to Havi to return and to hold meetings to return the society to normalcy.

Justice Mrima noted that the caretaker council is not known in LSK’s constitution. On the other hand, he faulted advocates who requisitioned meetings to oust Havi as they disobeyed court orders.

Justice Mrima found that the council should have Havi, his deputy, Carolyne Kamende, Herine Kabita, Esther Ang’awa, Aluso Ingati, Roseline Odede, George Omwansa, Carolyne Mutheu, Faith Odhiambo, Aluso Ingati, Ndinda Kinyiri, Riziki Emukule, Beth Michoma and Wambua.

Branch chairs

“The current state of the council is pathetic. Competing councils are in office. This court ought to find what transpired, the wrangles notwithstanding. The council shall within 21 convene and hold its meeting to hold the affairs of the LSK failure to which the branch chairs caucus shall hold the meetings and take the affairs of the council until the remainder of the term,” ruled Justice Mrima.

On October 19, 2020, Havi fired Wambua despite the majority of the council members clearing her of all allegations raised against her.  

Armed with a 54-page ‘judgement’ indicting Wambua for gross misconduct, Havi directed her to leave office upon being paid three months in lieu of notice while permitting the nine members of the council who were of the contrary opinion to pass their verdict.

His resolve to oust the CEO who is also the council’s secretary was backed by Kamende, Kabita and Ang’awa.

Those who ratified that Wambua should get back to the office were the majority. The chair of the majority was Mr Ngetich and members were Odede, Omwansa, Mutheu, Odhiambo, Ingati, Kinyiri, Emukule and Michoma. Justice Mrima traced the problems bedeviling the society to the split over Wambua.