Controversial Lawyer Nelson Havi has been elected 49th President of Law Society of Kenya(LSK), according to Reports. He takes over from outgoing president Allen Gichuhi and will serve a two-year term from 2020 to 2022
In an election held on Thursday, Mr Havi who ran against three other Lawyers took an early lead and eventually won the poll according to provisional results.
Kenya’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission(IEBC) which managed the election is however yet to officially announce Mr Nelson Havi’s victory.
His challengers Charles Kanjama, Harriette Chiggai and Maria Mbeneka have conceded defeat.
” I congratulate my classmate Nelson Havi on running a bold and effective campaign that has catapulted the confidence of lawyers across the country.” said Mr Charles Kanjama, who was Havi’s main challenger, on Twitter.
The Law Society of Kenya which is Kenya’s premier bar association was established in 1948 by an Ordinance with the mandate to advise and assist members of the legal profession, the government and members of the public in all matters relating to the administration of justice in Kenya.
In recent times, the Society has suffered scathing criticism over what critics call incompetence.
Many Lawyers and members of the public feel the Society hasn’t been up to task especially in defending the Public Interest and human rights activism.
” I hope that you will take immediate steps to restore the Law Society of Kenya’s reputation which expired long time ago” Lawyer Miguna Miguna said on Twitter to Nelson Havi after his victory became clear.
Describing it as ” emasculated,” Nelson Havi rode on this wave and launched his campaign for ” A brave new Bar” promising to restore the Society’s lost glory.
To do this, Mr Havi has a three fold agenda; monitor legislation, defend rule of Law and Constitutionalism, and Protect Law Practice environment.
” We will be vigilant to ensure that bad laws do not end up in statute books. It will enable us offer legal services under a statutory regime instead of running after a moving belt, litigating over the constitutionality of laws.” He declares in his manifesto.
According to Havi, one of these bad laws that shouldn’t have been in statute books had the LSK been awoke is the Contempt of Court Act which provided for prosecution of disobedience of court orders.
The Act was nullified by the Constitutional Court of Kenya for flouting judicial independence.
Havi wants the Law Society to be more involved in Law making processes to render legal services inorder to safeguard against unconstitutional and potentially unfair laws.
Rule of Law and Constitutionalism
In defence of the Rule of Law and Constitutionalism, Nelson Havi vows firmness.
” Pronouncements will be made, resolutions will be passed and if need be, litigation will be pursued, not as interested party but petitioner, to ensure observance of rule of law by the mighty and the meek” He says.
In recent times, the Kenya Judiciary has come under attack over its failure to assert its authority when recalcitrant public officials disobey court orders.
Kenya’s Public Prosecutor last month recommended the reintroduction of the Contempt of Court Act in order to prosecute those who disobey court orders.
Now, Mr Havi wants the disobedient officials to be barred from public office.
” For state officers who disobey court orders, we will seek declarations to bar them from holding office” He says, adding:
” We will be the citadel for independence of the judiciary and the hawk eye of accountability”
Law Practice Environment
Further, Mr Nelson Havi promises his electorate and the public to expand and protect the Law Practice environment.
” I propose to formulate and implement policy to ensure advocates are not targeted with prosecution in the line of duty” He says.
“Government registries and departments will have to input our views in administrative changes so that well intentioned changes do not disrupt or delay delivery of legal services”
Under the stewardship of Mr Havi, young lawyers and the youth in general stand to benefit from constitutional affirmative action.
” We will enforce the requirement under Article 55 of the Constitution that public procurement of services should allocate a special slot for the youth” Mr Havi promises.
The election of Mr Nelson Havi as President of LSK, has been welcomed by many lawyers and lay members of the Public with many heaping praises and congratulatory messages on him.
Mr Havi who describes himself as a ” new broom” having been the only Candidate who has not served on the LSK Council, is looked at by many Kenyans as a new guard – the exact antidote to LSK’s inadequacies largely due to his fiery and outspoken character.
Immediately after his election, Flamboyant Commercial Lawyer Donald Kipkorir took to his Twitter to congratulate Mr Havi.
“Congratulations on [the] overwhelming victory. Proud to have endorsed [you] from the beginning, publicly and privately. Now effectuate the LSK Act, the Advocates Act [and] Chapter 6 of the Constitution . Don’t lower the moral bar in the bar.” Mr Kipkorir said.
“The nation, the bar [and the] entire legal fraternity expects [you] to provide leadership on matters affecting legal practice, administration of justice and the rule of law. Be a good example to all in words and deeds. Be brave.We shall support you.” Senate Majority Leader and Lawyer Kipchumba Murkomen said on Twitter.
Who’s Nelson Havi?
He was admitted to the Kenyan Bar in 2003 and currently is the Managing Partner of Law firm Havi and Co Advocates which he founded in 2006.
In 2017, the LSK frustrated his candidature arguing the had not practised for the required minimum of 15 years since the date of admission, as provided for in law.