A small charity based in the United Kingdom has been helping judges, lawyers and NGOs by providing them with law books. The books are free and must be requested online.
A prominent Kenyan legal academic and practising advocate, Professor Tom Odhiambo Ojienda, is in the midst of a running battle between himself and the country’s tax bosses and prosecution services. The authorities claim that he has not paid tax on payment for work in a series of cases. The claims are particularly damaging for Ojienda, given that his law company advertises itself as ‘a top-tier law firm comprising a dedicated team of advocates and support staff offering expert legal advice’. After he was arrested and detained by the prosecuting authorities, Ojienda asked the courts to intervene, and they have now done so, with the judge holding that Ojienda should not have been arrested as there had been no evidence to justify such a step. The judge said that the power to prosecute was like a ‘river’. It had to ‘flow within its course,’ he said. Anytime it left its path ‘it causes floods and untold human suffering’. The power of the prosecution services had to be confined ‘within the four corners of the constitution’, otherwise innocent citizens would suffer if the courts did not check the abuse of that power.
African Human Rights Day seems like a good time to reflect on an issue that affects all three of the continent’s premier human rights bodies: the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. This issue is one that is raised in a new report by Amnesty International, and it’s an issue faced by each country separately as well, namely how the system of choosing judges is run, in order to ensure transparency, fairness and the best candidates.
On the 9th of September 2020 George Bizos, that unrelenting crusader for justice, succumbed to death at a ripe age of 92.
His passing hit close to home. It left my brother, Mike (a former client of Bizos) heart-broken. I was similarly deeply saddened. He impacted on our lives in different ways. Mike wrote me soon after he learnt of his passing: “My intimates are falling in quick succession. Beginning to feel like I am in the queue”. Not long time ago he lost another close friend – Andrew Mlangeni, an anti-apartheid campaigner, who, along with my brother and Nelson Mandela were imprisoned for furthering the aims of the African National Congress (ANC) and were sentenced to serve in Robben Island.
A woman who held firm against a shady 'fronting' scheme has been vindicated by the high court in Mombasa. After Rachel Ndambuki refused to become part of the scheme she was demoted and sent to another office. However, she persisted with her legal action, saying her transfer and demotion had infringed a number of her rights and that she should be paid damages. The case also saw a prominent civil servant be declared in contempt of court, and be fined, after ignoring a court order not to effect Ndambuki's transfer until the court had heard full argument in the case.