Vibrancy, visibility top agenda as lawyers converge for elections
Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Law Society of Kenya (LSK) members go to the polls today to elect their president and other officials in what could define the future of the professional body.
At stake is whether society gets the leadership to ensure it regains its former vibrancy in pushing for legal and democratic reforms or retain its acquiescent status that has it accused of going to bed with the government.
And as the demands for a more pro-active and visible LSK takes centre stage, another dynamic has emerged; group of youthful lawyers pushing for a complete paradigm shift in the running of the society’s affairs.
The other factor will be the political alignments, which could see the Handshake and the Tanga Tanga rivalry.
The Handshake team comprises President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga backers while Tanga Tanga is allied to Deputy President William Ruto.
Throughout the campaigns, candidates eyeing various positions have insisted that this year’s elections is an opportunity for learned friends to rekindle the once prestigious, vibrant, vocal and bright star that was the LSK.
Today’s vote will be a decisive moment in the polarising debate on the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report and whoever gets elected the LSK President will be expected to either declare support for or against the document, which is in its second phase of validation.
At least 10,764 advocates with practising certificate as at December 31, 2019, will cast their vote to elect the President, Vice-President, Council of the LSK and the Disciplinary Committee to run the affairs of the society in the next two years.
The polling centres will be at the 28 High Court buildings centres across the country.
They include Mombasa, Malindi, Machakos, Kisumu, Nairobi (Milimani law Courts), Nairobi (Supreme Court Buildings), Nakuru, Kericho, Bungoma, Kitale, Kisii, Eldoret and Meru.
Other centres are Nyeri, Busia, Embu, Migori, Kitui, Mumias, Nyahururu, Muranga, Thika, Homa Bay, Kerugoya, Nanyuki, Narok and Naivasha.
According to LSK deputy chief executive, Collins Odhiambo, the elections, which will be supervised by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), shall take place as from 8.30am to 5pm.
“The Electors can vote from any of above centres regardless of where they are based,” said Odhiambo, who is also the elections committee secretary.
Meanwhile, candidates for the president position— Maria Mbeneka, Charles Kanjama, Nelson Havi and Harriet Chiggai— were engaged in last minute attempt to woo voters on various social media platforms with some disparaging and discrediting the candidature of their rivals.
Former LSK president and Senior Counsel Tom Ojienda described today’s poll as “an election to eliminate fraud” in the lawyers’ umbrella body.