Uhuru confers Senior Counsel status on Kalonzo, 23 others
Wiper Democratic Movement (WDM) Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka and his Narc Kenya counterpart Martha Karua are among 24 advocates of the High Court conferred the prestigious roll of Senior Counsel by President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday.
The Kenya Law Society of Kenya president, Nelson Havi opposed the appointment of 24 senior counsel, saying it is illegal.
Havi said LSK was not consulted and does not therefore recognise the appointment.
State House Spokesperson, Kanze Dena said the Presidential prerogative to confer the rank and dignity of Senior Counsel is set out under the Advocates Act.
“The President has on July 20, set his hand and seal to issue the letters of conferment bestowing the rank and dignity of Senior Counsel to 24 eminent and distinguished Advocates of the High court of Kenya,” said Dena in a statement.
Among those conferred are Parkash Nagpal, Dr Fackson Wainaina Kagwe, Pravin Kumar Bowry, Charles Waweru Gatonye, Fredrick Ngatia, Mohammed Nyaoga and Rautta Athiambo.
Others are Philip Murgor, Albert Mumma, Beautah Alukhava Siganga, Kiragu Kimani, Judy Thongori, Taib Ali Taib Bajabir and Zehrabanu Janmohamed.
Wilfred Nderitu, John Ohaga, Kioko Kilukumi, Patricia Mande Nyaundi, Dorcas Agik Odhong Oduor, Abdikadir Husein Mohamed, Paul Otiende Amollo and John Mugwimi Chigiti were also conferred.
“The President conveys felicitations to the 24 advocates whose contributions to law and development have secured their place in the apex of their profession and at the highest levels of the national conscience,” said Dena.
She said the date for the conferment ceremony would be scheduled and notified in due course.
“The rank of the Senior Counsel is conferred in accordance with the recommendations of the Committee of Senior Counsel, to Advocates of the High Court of Kenya who have distinguished themselves by rendering exemplary services in the legal and public service arena,” Dena added.
The Senior Counsel received overflowing congratulatory messages on social media.
“Asanteni sana (thank you so much) dear tweeps,” Karua posted on her Twitter handle.
To be conferred the prestigious honour, lawyers have to apply for consideration.
This is then followed by vetting of applicants by a committee comprising the Attorney General, Law Society of Kenya (LSK) chairman, a Court of Appeal and a High Court judge, three Senior Counsel and four advocates.
To qualify, one must at least have 15 years experience as an advocate of the High Court, be a legal practitioner who undertakes training of junior members and has also argued serious and precedent- setting suits before superior courts.
The 24 had met a setback when the LSK nullified their nomination in May.
The decision by LSK council to nullify their nomination came several months after the Committee on Senior Counsel chaired by Supreme Court judge Justice Mohamed Ibrahim completed the process of identifying the 24.
Some lawyers had questioned the criteria used to identify the 24 saying the process was unfair.
“I therefore want to ask the Chief Justice David Maraga not to include the 24 people in the list of the senior counsel because they are not senior counsel,” he said at a press conference at the LSK offices in Nairobi.
Havi said it was ill-advised for Uhuru to appoint the senior counsels while the appointment of 41 judges to ease the backlog in the judiciary has been pending.
“If the president saw it fit to appoint the 24 senior counsels, he should have also deemed it fit to appoint the 41 judges whose appointment was recommended to state house.
LSK, he said was apposed to the process of the appointment of the judges and not the personalities appointed.