A special general meeting of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) held on Saturday resolved to send the CEO on compulsory leave and remove eight council members.
Nation.Africa has learnt that LSK CEO Mercy Wambua could head back to court to sue the organisers of the SGM, and President Nelson Havi, of contempt of a December 2020 court order that stopped the society from interfering with her work as CEO.
According to lawyer Georgiadis Majimbo, who was the secretary of the SGM on Saturday, the SGM was a continuation of one that was to be held in December 2020 but which had been stopped by the court. “Last month the High Court struck out that suit for being incompetent and vacated the stay orders.
It was therefore obvious that the SGM slated for December 2020 would proceed from where it was stopped. It was pursuant to that SGM that a notice was issued for the meeting held today,” he said.
But council member Bernard Ngetich said there was no SGM in law but a gathering of Mr Havi and a handful of young lawyers who support him “to take tea at the secretariat this morning.”
“After they had taken tea, Havi appointed his friends, including a state counsel. Council members are not appointed by the president. If there is a vacancy the CEO advertises the position, an election board is appointed by members and an election body is also appointed by members. Council members cannot be appointed in a general meeting,” said Mr Ngetich.
From the disputed SGM, the new council members who were reported to have been elected were Bon Begi Gesicho, Claire Osore, George Ng’ang’a, Emmanuel Kyobika, Miyawa Maxwell, Jamlick Muriithi, Jane Odiya and Levy Munyeri. They are supposed to take over from Mr Ngetich, Faith Odhiambo, Aluso Ingati, Carolyne Mutheu, Linda Emukule, Beth Michoma, Ndinda Kinyili and George Omwansa.
But Mr Ngetich says they are not going anywhere. Through the backdoor “We shall continue to serve as council members. Havi has been campaigning in Westlands and along with the Vice President Caroline Kamende, Esther Ang’awa and Herine Kabita they last attended council meetings in January meaning that they have not been serving members,” said Mr Ngetich.
“To those young lawyers who were misled, we ask them to put in their papers in December, and campaign and see if members can countenance what they want to do through the backdoor,” he added.
The controversial SGM also sent on compulsory leave Ms Wambua pending the expiry of her contract next year. According to Mr Majimbo, the language of the resolution was that she proceeds on compulsory leave, which could signify that she has disciplinary issues.
Mr Majimbo further says that while there are court orders stopping interference with Ms Wambua’s work as CEO, LSK regulations provide that the recruitment of a new CEO should begin at least six months before expiry of her contract.
“On that account, it was resolved that that process commences as she proceeds on compulsory leave. So it was not on contravention of the court order. It was a new motion proposed on the floor. The previous motion that was stayed by the court was not debated. The motion was that she proceeds on compulsory leave. There were no details to it. It is compulsory leave with full pay,” he said.
Discipline the CEO
But Mr Ngetich says that the only organ mandated to discipline the CEO is the Council. “A general meeting, whether it is legal or otherwise cannot deal with the issue of the CEO. We have not sent her on compulsory leave.
We dismissed disciplinary proceedings last year. Therefore she will continue to serve until she is either removed by two-thirds of the Council members or her contract expires,” he said.
Mr Majimbo accused the eight council members who the SGM removed of opposing Mr Havi’s ‘Brave New Bar’ agenda and that is why they did not attend the SGM.
He accused the eight of supporting reinstatement of Ms Wambua and opposing the audit of LSK accounts.
Other resolutions from the contested SGM requires the secretariat to disclose all LSK bank accounts and M-Pesa Paybill statements to members, an invitation to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) to appoint a firm of auditors within 14 days to audit accounts of the society, that the President to be the only spokesperson of the society as provided in LSK Act and Regulations, that the continuous professional development requirements for 2021/2022 be waived, and that payment of practicing certificates to be done directly to LSK collection account.