Lawyers threaten to boycott LSK elections

Sunday February 18 2018

Law Society of Kenya

Law Society of Kenya President Isaac Okero gives a media briefing opposing the crack down on civil society by the government, at the society’s offices in Nairobi on August 16, 2017. Some members want to skip the event. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By SAM KIPLAGAT
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By DAVID MWERE
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Young advocates are planning to boycott Thursday’s Law Society of Kenya elections.

Under the banner “can’t vie, can’t vote”, the lawyers argue that the decision to restrict people seeking the position of president to 15 years of practice is discriminatory.

The same restriction extends to the positions of vice president and council members.

Mr Eddy Nyanyuki said anyone entitled to vote should also be allowed to contest any office.

He argued that the 15-year experience requirement restricted more than 60 per cent of the LSK members.

“We are many, close to 4,000,” he said, adding that it was a significant number to be ignored.

HAVI OUT
They also argue that a clause in LSK Act, which allows a young advocate who served as a council member to vie for presidency while subjecting the rest to the 15-years rule is discriminative.

Mr Nelson Havi, who unsuccessfully challenged the decision to bar him from contesting the LSK presidency, agreed with the young lawyers.

“My supporters are saying they will boycott the elections. If are not allowed to vie, why vote?” he asked.

The frontrunners for the position of president are Mr Allen Gichuhi, a commercial and administrative law litigation advocate, and former president of the East Africa Law Society James Mwamu.

Mr Gichuhi said he was not aware of any threat to boycott the poll.

“It will be very unfortunate if that happens,” Mr Gichuhi said.

“The law is what it is. The only thing that can be done is to amend the LSK Act and remove age restriction.”

DIGITAL VOTING
He promised to introduce digital voting if he emerged victorious.

“This will make the process move effective, save time and encourage good turnout. Members travel long distances to vote because poll centres are few,” he said.

Mr Mwamu promises to strengthen the secretariat by fostering dynamic staff development policies and practices, which ensure job security, workplace health and continuous human resource development.

The elections, which were to be held last year, were postponed twice.