Posted Thursday, August 19 2010 at 14:05
The Law Society of Kenya has announced that it will set up a committee to assist in the implementation of the new constitution.
LSK chairman Kenneth Akide said the society will act as a think tank for the Government.
The formation and involvement of the committee is meant to take away the process from politicians. It will also assist the country to implement the constitution-based principles and values.
Speaking during the official opening of the LSK annual conference, Mr Akide told participants that implementation committee will be chaired by himself or his predecessor, and comprise of LSK council members, lawyers and scholars in law among others, and will be preparing weekly or bi-weekly statements advising the nation on the status of the implementation exercise.
One of the most important objectives of the committee he said is to ensure that appointment of judges and the AG and other constitutional office holders is done on merit.
“The test of merit is educational qualification, career record, publications and experience which has made a person be recognized by his peers,” he said.
It is also for the same reason that he proposed that the society be allowed to vet judges, saying that the implementation committee will develop criteria for vetting the judicial officers drawn on international experiences.
On this note, Kenya Anti Corruption Commission boss Prof Patrick Lumumba said that vetting of judges is important as it would give them a an opportunity to redeem themselves.
“The legal profession should demand for systems that function, and those who want to serve countrymen must be taken through the (vetting) process but it is unfortunate that some are opposed to it,” he said.
He added, “let me speak with authority and state that the vetting process gives a sense of endorsement, and I say this because I went through the process and was chosen by my own.”
The anti graft chief also called upon lawyers to join the fight against corruption saying that it undermined political, social cohesion and economy of the country and asked them to act as whistle blowers.
Meanwhile, Mr Akide added that other immediate issues for consideration once the committee is constituted will be vetting of members of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), vetting models and appointments to the Supreme Courts.
“We believe it will be fair if two thirds of those to be appointed to these courts are drawn from outside because we need continuity as well as change and because we are also not bound by habits, thoughts and traditions of the current judicial traditions,” he said.
The conference under the theme ' digesting Kenya’s constitutional moment; the place of the legal profession in the post 2010 referendum has attracted at least 500 participants drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa and is taking place at the Leisure Lodge beach and gold resort in Diani.
He also said that LSK with the support of partners intends to organise a world conference on the concept and practice of democratic reconstructions.