Lawyer in court to quash suspension of LSK council

Thursday, January 21st, 2021 00:00 |
LSK President Nelson Havi. Photo/D/FILE

A Nairobi lawyer yesterday rushed to court to challenge the suspension of the entire Law Society of Kenya (LSK) council during a special general meeting held on Monday.

The move to suspend all the 12 council members alongside President Nelson Havi has left the lawyers’ body rudderless, with senior lawyers expressing fears that it could lead to its death.

Under a certificate of urgency, lawyer Adrian Njenga wants the court to issue an order quashing the entire proceedings, resolutions and decisions of the Special General Meeting of LSK convened, held and conducted via zoom online platform and physically at the lobby offices on Gitanga road, Nairobi. 

He also sought an order directing LSK and the council members to convene a Special General Meeting to dispense with the agenda contained in the notice circulated to members on December 18, last year. 

Remedial measures 

He has sued LSK and listed Havi, the 12 council members and the society’s Secretary as interested parties. Havi and the suspended council members have 13 months remaining before the end of their term, which lapses in March next year.

After their suspension, all LSK matters were left to the society’s Chief Executive Mercy Wambua in consultation with the branches and Special General Meetings.

Yesterday, senior lawyers were in consultations as they worked against time to save the once vibrant lawyers’ body from disintegrating.

Senior Counsel John Khaminwa, while expressing concern over the turn of events at the society stated: “LSK could be on its death bed unless some urgent remedial measures are taken.”

“What happened on Monday was not only the height of impunity, but a sign of an organisation lacking leadership. It was total madness,” Khaminwa told People Daily.

Dr Fred Ojiambo, the chairman of the Senior Counsel Bar, said LSK had become the country’s laughing stock as a result of the recent shenanigans.

“The scenes playing themselves out in the public domain are a great embarrassment to all lawyers and are likely to have long-term adverse effects on the legitimacy of any comment which LSK may have on public affairs,”  Ojiambo said.

Ojiambo, who served as LSK chairman in the 1980s, seemed to lay blame on Havi as he disclosed that their previous attempts to reach out to the management, specifically the LSK President, with a view to finding an amicable and lasting solution to “any real or perceived difficulties” were ignored.

“We did not receive any co-operation from those quarters,” said Ojiambo. Contacted, Havi insisted he was still in office and declared the resolutions passed in the Monday meeting as null and void.

“The meeting was hijacked and nothing from that meeting will be adopted. As far as I am concerned, I am still in charge,” Havi said.

At the same time, sources said LSK could be left out of the process to appoint the successor of retired Chief Justice David Maraga should it fail to put its house in order immediately.

The tenure of Mercy Deche, the LSK representative in the Judicial Service Commission, comes to an end next month, and the process to elect her replacement should have kicked off.

A board chaired by lawyer Joyce Majiwa to kick-start the process to elect Deche’s replacement cannot move due to the absence of council members who are supposed to guide it. Already, the position of Chief Justice has been declared vacant and interested persons invited to send in applications.

Whoever is elected to replace Deche is likely to have the swing vote if JSC members failed to reach a consensus on the nomination of the next Chief Justice and a vote is called. LSK has two representatives in JSC: Deche and Macharia Njeru.

Impeachment motion

The suspended LSK council members include George Omwana, Carolyne Mutheu, Faith Odhiambo, Aluso Ingati, Ndinga Kinyili, Bernard Ngetich, Riziki Emukule, Beth Michoma, Carolyne Kamende, Herine Kabita and Esther Ang’awa.

Another member, Roseline Odede, resigned minutes before the Special General Meeting voted to suspend her colleagues.

Months of infighting between Havi and the CEO had split the council into two factions, with Havi having the support of three members, among them his deputy Kamende, Kabita and Ang’awa, while Ms Wambua, the CEO, had the backing of nine.

The suspension motion had initially targeted the nine council members believed to be on Ms Wambua’s side, but was amended in the course of the meeting to include council members allied to Havi.

The meeting had been called to discuss the appointment of auditors to probe LSK’s books of accounts, deliberate on an impeachment motion against Havi, the suspension of some council members and the appointment of advocates to represent the lobby in court cases involving internal wrangles.

More on News