, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has welcomed the election of a new representative to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), saying the successful completion of last Friday’s poll signaled a new beginning.
LSK President Allen Gichuhi said in a statement Monday that Macharia Njeru’s election as the male representative to the Judicial Service Commission was confirmation of the trust bestowed on him by colleague lawyers.
Macharia – a former Independent Policing Oversight Authority Chairperson – will serve alongside Commissioner Mercy Deche, LSK’s female representative in the Judicial Service Commission.
“Even as the election process comes to an end, it is important to remember that election victories are not ends in themselves, but actually signal the beginning of the real work ahead. Indeed, the lawyers have expressed their will and trust that Njeru will honour his campaign pledges,” he noted.
“It is my strong belief that he will jointly with the LSK Female Representative to the JSC Mercy Deche ably and promote members’ practice and welfare interests even as they work towards improving the performance of the JSC,” he added.
Gichuhi called upon lawyers to commit to serving the nation, “unified by our calling to abide by the objects of the LSK and uphold the rule of law.”
Macharia defeated long serving Commissioner Tom Ojienda in one of the most hotly contested elections in the history of the law society after garnering 2,738 votes against Ojienda’s 2,545 across 28 polling centers nationwide.
The election was preceded by a 2019 delegates’ conference during which a slim majority voted to review a statutory provision requiring candidates for the JSC to seek clearance from Higher Education Loans Board and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), a move a section of members said was taken to preserve Ojienda’s ambitions after KRA declined to issue him with a clearance certificate over a tax dispute.
The controversial vote was faulted by among others former Deputy Chief Justice Nancy Baraza who said it compromised the caliber of LSK members elected to JSC.
“Persons who are elected to serve at JSC should be persons above reproach, persons of integrity, and persons of intellectual capacity. That LSK can vote to do things differently from what we expect of other Kenyans is in violation of Section 4 of the Advocates Act,” she told Capital FM News on April 11 adding public confidence in the LSK will be degraded.
“When we lower standards for ourselves then we’re sending signals to the entire country. We have standards for integrity and when we as lawyers think we can lower those standards it is not good for our democracy. Serving at the JSC is a noble calling and shouldn’t be seen as a contest between factions in LSK.”
Ojienda’s term in the JSC ended on April 3.