NAIROBI, Kenya, March 24 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has called a council meeting to discuss the wrangles that dominated its Annual General Meeting on Saturday and led to its premature termination.
While terming the incident as unfortunate, President Eric Mutua pointed out that a meeting set for Thursday will be used to discuss the conduct of some members during the AGM.
In a statement, Mutua indicated that the council will also discuss the best way to implement decisions of general meetings on the LSK International Arbitration Centre and to accommodate dissenting voices.
“I wish to assure all our members and the general public that the council of the society shall continue to execute its mandate under Section 4 of the LSK Act without fear or favour,” he said.
He urged the members to always conduct themselves in a dignified manner so as to uphold the high standards of the Law Society of Kenya.
“History has taught us that opposition to projects does not necessarily mean that a project is bad. In 1887 when the construction of the Eiffel Tower was about to start, big names in the world of engineers, art and literature viciously opposed the construction terming it a useless and monstrous skeleton in the heart of the capital city of Paris. Today Paris attracts the highest number of tourists due to the tower,” he stated.
He recounted that in the aborted meeting, some members of the society became disorderly and could not allow the council to proceed with conducting the meeting in line with Section 32 of the LSK Act 2014.
“When council member Jennifer Shamalla proceeded to the podium to read the council report some members violently charged towards her and grabbed the microphone from her. At the same time some members and non-members approached the high table chanting political slogans,” he said.
A lobby group branded Okoa LSK cited various clauses of the Law Society of Kenya Act to convince hundreds of their colleagues to vote for an interim chairman and proceeded with the meeting after Mutua and his entire council vacated the venue at the Hilton Hotel.
Police were shortly called to help restore order after members failed to agree on whether to suspend or continue with the meeting.
The centre of the chaos was a project for the construction of the International Arbitration Centre, where members are supposed to contribute a mandatory fee ranging from Sh39,000 to Sh50,000 towards the project.
The lawyers were accusing their leadership of failure to reveal the whole financial details of the South C project and only did that after a court order raising questions of accountability and transparency about the project.
Lawyer Edwin Sifuna who proposed a motion to have the project abandoned and five firms invited to conduct a forensic audit into the affairs of the council and the secretariat for the last four years told journalists that they only want accountability.
An assessment by the National Environment Management Authority internal quantity surveyor, he said, indicated the four storey building will cost Sh283 million while the council had submitted an approximate cost of Sh608 million.
He pointed out that there have been conflicting figures and now they have the current figures of Sh1.2 billion.