By Edwin Sifuna
In the run up to the Law Society of Kenya AGM last Saturday, he and his obnoxious council ignored all legitimate and lawful attempts by members of the society to get their voices heard.
The facts speak for themselves. On 27th January, 2015 the Law Society Kenya Secretariat issued a Notice for the Annual General Meeting that was scheduled for 21st March, 2015. Some members of the LSK, as is required by the Law, served upon the Secretariat 3 motions to be included in the agenda of the AGM. The motions were served on 13th January, 2015 and 27th February, 2015.
Regulation 35(2) of the LSK Regulations provides that upon receipt within the time prescribed of such motions, the Secretary of the LSK is obliged to include the Motions in the agenda for the AGM. In relation to the motions, the Secretary refused to comply with these mandatory regulations. Through 2 letters, the members through their Advocates demanded that the Motions be specifically included in the agenda prior to the AGM. However, the demand was not met and come the day of the AGM, the motions were nowhere to be seen. The reason they were omitted is because they sought to discuss the apparently fraudulent conduct of the LSK council in the International Arbitration Centre scandal.
The chaotic scenes that characterised the LSK general assembly last week must be analysed with that background in mind. When faced with a group of individuals who will subscribe to neither reason nor rule of law and who are determined to pursue their foul ends mpende msipende, the normal course of serene, sedate and sombre discourse is rendered impotent.
It is true that you do not respond to a mosquito bite with a hammer. Equally true is that you do not bring a knife to a gun fight. The unfortunate fact is that the LSK council led by Mutua came to the meeting with a premeditated intention of running a choreographed and stage-managed meeting. They planned to proceed with business while pretending to be oblivious to objections from members. Having reserved seats for a select cabal of seniors at the front they set the stage to bulldoze through the meeting attempting to illegally imposing their will on the majority.
What the observer at a distance perceived as fracas was actually only a spirited attempt by members to have specific motions included in the agenda. We refuse to be brainwashed into thinking that intense lawful action to defend our rights is somehow unseemly and unbecoming. Vigilance is sometimes vigorous. Many a times our rights are trampled upon whilst we are required to stay quite in order to maintain “decorum”. As Malcolm X said, you cannot struggle only within the rules laid down by those you are struggling against. He added that “tactics based solely on morality can only succeed when you are dealing with people who are moral”.
The only time an advocate’s conduct brings the profession to disrepute is when it is illegal. The law was indeed broken; By Eric Mutua and his cohorts, first by failing to comply with the regulations compelling them to include the motions discussing their conduct and then by attempting to unlawfully adjourn the AGM. Under regulation 39 of the LSK regulations, he could only adjourn the meeting with the consent of the members present. Consent is sought by putting the matter to a vote. In blatant disregard and contempt for the regulations, the chairman purported to ‘declare’ a unilateral adjournment.
As an experienced lawyer, the LSK chairman ought to know that to communicate with a man; you need to speak in a language he understands.
The irony is that while misconduct is being discussed, it is the alleged misconduct of innocent advocates who shouted wolf rather than that of the knavish LSK council. Exactly the distraction a coyote caught raiding the chicken coop would want.