Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi Petitions Regional Court Over Supreme Court Ban

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Kenyan Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Maalim Abdullahi has petitioned the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to overturn his ban from appearing before the Supreme Court of Kenya in a weighty case that highlights the complexities of regulating lawyers’ conduct in the era of social media vis a vis the desires to preserve the sanctity of the Court system.

Popularly known as the “grand mullah,” Senior Counsel Ahmednasir Abdullahi was unceremoniously expelled for an indefinite period from ever seeking audience before the apex court of Kenya by a letter dated 18th January 2024 signed by the Registrar of the Court Letizia Wachira on ground that the maverick lawyer had consistently bashed the Court via his X social media platform of more than two million followers, media interviews and articles which damaged the reputation of the Court in the eyes of the Public.

Among these attacks were allegations of corruption and incompetence against Justices of the Supreme Court some of which the lawyer has reiterated and detailed in his 71-paged petition before the Arusha, Tanzania – based EACJ.

In one instance, the constitutional lawyer alleges that 4 out of the 7 Justices of the Supreme Court who heard the 2022 presidential election petition in which Kenya’s opposition leader Raila Odinga challenged the election of Mr. William Ruto as the President of Kenya received bribes ranging from $1.5M-$2M in order to influence the outcome of the case.

According to Mr. Ahmednasir Abdullahi’s petition filed on Monday, the ban violates his right to work, interferes with his freedom of expression, denies him a fair administrative hearing, and condemns him based on the non-existent offense of “scandalizing the Court.”

 

Now, the Senior Counsel who describes himself as a “change champion” and “reform activist” wants the East African Court of Justice to award him damages of 200M Kshs in lost business in the Supreme Court after finding that his ban from appearing before the top Court is contrary to the foundational principles of good and democratic governance of the East African Community (EAC) as enshrined in the EAC treaty which the EACJ has the judicial duty to enforce.

“ In taking the administrative action to ban the Applicant from practicing before the Supreme Court of Kenya for an unspecified period with effect from 18th January, 2024, the Respondent State [Kenya] acted in bad faith, and failed to meet its obligations under the EAC Treaty to abide by the principles of good governance including rule of law, and maintanence of universally accepted standards of human rights.” He alleges.

As more and more lawyers use social media platforms and ever becoming vocal on issues relating to their work , it’s proving challenging to strike a balance between legitimate exercises of their freedoms of expression and the so-called conduct unbecoming of lawyers in their stead as “officers of Court.”

Ahmednasir Abdullahi’s case presents an opportunity for Judiciaries and Advocates in the East African region to forge a constitutionally acceptable way of relating with each other without muzzling legitimate communication about the important issues of judicial integrity and access to Justice.

In Uganda, we have witnessed a similar scenario involving vocal lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde as Judges have severally indicated discomfort about his remarks made on his social media platforms and recently it was alleged his own ban was in contemplation!


Benjamin Ahikiiriza is a Legal Writer And Digital Communications & Marketing Specialist majoring in Lawyers, Law Firms And the larger Legal Sector.

Benjamin currently Works as the Director of Content and Business Development At LegalReports.


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