LSK presidential candidates get ready for Thursday polls

The five are seeking to replace Eric Theuri, with each promising to protect practice environment

In Summary

• Kamende is the senior most having been admitted in 2005. Mboce is the youngest having been admitted in 2015.

• Pundits say the race for the society presidency is largely between him and Odhiambo.

LSK president Eric Theuri accompanied by other lawyers when he presented his nomination papers at the LSK headquarters on January 11, 2024.
LSK president Eric Theuri accompanied by other lawyers when he presented his nomination papers at the LSK headquarters on January 11, 2024.

Faith Mony Odhiambo

Admitted to the bar in 2011, the current vice president is not new to the Law Society of Kenya's politics. Her leadership journey started when she was elected to the national council in 2020. In 2022, she was elected to the vice president position. She is promising a progressive bar, stable practice environment for lawyers, while protecting the rule of law. She is the perceived favourite in the race. Odhiambo's opponents have been calling on her to allow new blood take over leadership. She defends her long stint in leadership, saying it is proof of her ability to deliver on her promises and confidence the lawyers have on her. She is counting on her experience as a leader, who cut her teeth with integrity, fierce opposition to anarchy. She believes state mandarins are afraid of her, hence better positioned to push back on the perceived threats to the rule of law and independence of the Judiciary. She has been mentoring young advocates through her Inua Wakili series. Odhiambo has bagged endorsements from key legal and political figures like senior counsels Wilfred Nderitu, Otiende Amollo, Ambrose Rachier and Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna.

Peter Wanyama Manyonge

The tough-talking lawyer has fashioned himself in the race as 'an outsider', who will confront the “swamp at Gitanga Road and achieve for lawyers without excuses”. Popularly known as PMO, he was admitted to the bar in 2007. Pundits say the race for the society presidency is largely between him and Odhiambo. Wanyama says given the prevailing political and economic environment, the society needs a leader who is “pushy, strategic and consequential” and who will use every means possible, including “soft blackmail and confrontation” to get his way. His key planks include reviewing the Advocates Remuneration Order 2014, ejecting other professionals like surveyors from the legal space and expanding practice space in light of the changing dynamics that include AI and climate change. He says the race is between the 'outsider and insiders'. All his four opponents are either sitting or former council members. But his campaign has not been without controversy. There have been claims he talks down on younger colleagues. During the last rounds of debates at Riara University, he said young lawyers are doing poorly living in bedsitters in Rongai paying Sh2,500, and eating ugali and eggs.

Harriet Njoki Mboce

Mboce sits in the current council representing Nairobi branch. The PhD candidate and law lecturer at the University of Nairobi was listed in the roll of advocates in 2015. She is the youngest among the presidential contenders in terms of practice experience. She promises to ensure an accountable and a solid LSK. Her expertise in maritime law saw her, alongside others, establish the Institute for Blue Economy and Ocean Studies at the University of Nairobi. She brags of having the acumen to build institutions from scratch, court strategic partners and attract funding to keep it going, promising to do the same for the LSK. Mboce has also promised to bolster the cross-border practice. She says as president, she will lobby for law change to deny lawyers from other East African countries to be advocates of the High Court of Kenya, unless their countries reciprocate by allowing Kenyan lawyers to be advocates there. She promises to help young lawyers venture into new practice areas like maritime law and environmental, social and corporate governance.

Carolyne Kamende Daudi

Admitted to the bar in 2005, she is the senior most in the five-way contest. She served as the vice president during the tumultuous reign of Nelson Havi, sticking by his side even when the council had degenerated into fractious factions with heated name-calling. The soft-spoken and thoughtful Kamende is seeking to leverage on her experience in the council, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when she championed special programmes to help advocates remain afloat, pay rent and afford life essentials. She boasts being the champion of anti-gender based and sexual bullying policy at the society. Kamende says she realised there was need for policy after her younger colleagues confided in her they were enduring sexual harassment and bullying in some law firms. Young advocates hail her willingness to help when they are stuck financially, an attribute that paved her way to Havi's council during the 2020 elections. She is a former vice chairperson of the tribunal that hounded Irene Masit the former IEBC commissioner out of office after the 2022 general elections.

Bernhard Ng’etich Kipkoech

The Nakuru city-based lawyer boasts of his diverse experience in LSK leadership, both at the chapter and national level, as well as his robust record in public interest litigation. He has more than 15 years practice experience. His most recent LSK leadership assignment was as treasurer. During his tenure, no audit query was raised. The AIC church elder has brought numerous public interest suits, challenging public duty bearers on their decisions and inactions. Also, the lawyer boasts of crusading against quack lawyers and masqueraders, culminating in recent arrest of a quack magistrate. Kipkoech promises devolution of LSK services to regions by giving the branches not just additional powers, but also millions needed to better cater to grassroots advocates. He promises a dialogue-based leadership, saying rather than pursue litigation, he will champion talks whenever necessary to get things done. For example, on the question of Supreme Court barring senior counsel Ahmednassir Abdullahi, Kipkoech says he would go the talks was by include the Attorney general, the senior counsels bar and the Supreme Court justices, among other actors to ensure reconciliation, rather than litigation.

WATCH: The latest videos from the Star