The battle to replace Nelson Havi as Law Society of Kenya (LSK) president has started with five lawyers cleared to contest the seat.
Having been the face of LSK for the past two years, Havi’s tenure ended prematurely last month.
The society was riddled with leadership wrangles during his tenure.
He was ousted by Branch Chairs Caucus for failing to comply with a court order that required him to call a meeting of the society’s council.
LSK elections board said the five lawyers have satisfied all the requirements for election as the society’s president and will battle it out on March 10.
"Having received and scrutinised the nomination papers submitted by members seeking the various positions, we are satisfied that they meet the requirements and the elections board has approved their applications to vie,” said the elections board.
The five cleared to seek the LSK presidency are Nairobi branch chair Eric Theuri, his Coast counterpart Mathew Nyabena, former LSK vice-president Caroline Kamende, and former LSK council members Bernhard Kipkoech and Omwanza Ombati.
According to LSK election rules, a person seeking the presidency must be a member or former member of the LSK Council or a lawyer who is qualified to be appointed as a Supreme Court judge with at least 15 years of experience in legal practice.
Also cleared are four candidates seeking LSK vice-president position - Debora Ajwang’ Anditi, Borniface Akusala, David Nyamweya, and Faith Aoko Odhiambo.
At the same time, the LSK elections board cleared seven female candidates seeking to be the lawyers’ representative at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).
Top female lawyers
The society has not had a female representative at the JSC since Mercy Deche’s tenure ended in 2020 and a bid to replace her was halted by the High Court.
The JSC seat has attracted some of the top female lawyers given it is a lucrative position as it puts commissioners at the helm of the judiciary.
The commission makes decisions on the appointment of judges, approving the Judiciary budget, and disciplining errant judicial officers.
Those seeking the position are Julie Soweto, Jacqueline Ingutiah, Christine Kipsang, Anna Cherono, Jane Nyaboke, Mercy Otieno, and Christine Kawira.
The 15,000-odd LSK members will also elect members of the LSK Council comprising a general member of 25 years’ experience, general member representative, upcountry representative, Coast region representative, and Nairobi representative.
For the general member aged 25 years, lawyers Tom Kopere, Ntabo Omosa Mogambi, and Richard Onsongo were cleared to contest.
The general member representative attracted 11 candidates who are Chysosostom Akhaabi, Edinah Bosibori Arati, Irene Echakara, Kabata Mwaura, Manasses Mwangi, Gideon Kansiime, Titus Makhanu, Sylverster Muli, Mathews Okoth, Edward Oonge and Stephen Saenyi.
The seven lawyers battling to be elected upcountry representative are Byron Menezes, Vincent Githaiga, Lindah Kiome, Peter Mbeche, Justus Mutia, Paul Ogendi and Michael Nyongesa while those seeking to be Coast representative are Linda Riziki, Duncan Osoro, Jacqueline Waihenya and Elizabeth Wangui.
Nairobi representative position has attracted the highest number of candidates with 19 applicants having been cleared by the LSK Elections Board.
The candidates are Brian Okoth, Cohen Amanya, Ashioya Biko Brian, Anthony Ochieng, Kevin Katisya, Maureen Chebet, Christine Makena, Josephine Obanda, Harriet Njoki, Solomon Gatobu, Salim Omar, Duncan Okubasu, James Githaka, Adrian Kamotho, Jane Nyabiage, Melvin Ogada, Philip Wasindu, Gabriel Ochieng and Julia Wanjiru.
The lawyers will also go to the polls to elect two members to the Advocates Disciplinary Committee which has attracted five candidates, Eunice Lumallas, John Chigiti, Esther Muthoni, Kenneth Mutuma and Joel Mwangi.
The elections will be conducted by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission in various High Court stations across the country.