The BBI appeal oral hearings which closed yesterday thrust forth a new breed of young lawyers who showcased their prowess before live TV.
They were sassy, flashy and stylish and their determination to demystify the myth that high octane legal cases are a preserve of veterans quite palpable.
They included counsels Esther Ang’awa, Morara Omoke, Michael Nyaga Karanja, Christian Ondale, Cherono Biwott, Arnold Oginga and Evans Oganda, among others.
Ondale was categorical that the court should compel President Uhuru Kenyatta to refund money used in the BBI process. He holds a bachelor of law degree from The University of Nairobi and a post-graduate diploma in law from the Kenya school of law. He works at Professor Albert Mumma & company advocates.
Ang’awa stood out for both oratory prowess and the soundness of her arguments. She argued alongside LSK President Nelson Havi, critiquing the appeal, and vouching for bigger and better public participation.
“Civic education may have been made a fancy affair by NGOs and the civil society but it is more than that. If these provisions on the referendum submitted by the commission should apply, I see no reason why the appellants have a problem with the finding of the superior court,” she said.
Ang’awa graduated from the University of Nairobi Law School in 2013 and a year later from the Kenya School of Law.
She first worked at the Ibrahim, Issack & Company Advocates as a lawyer between 2013 and 2014. She later returned to the firm for five months in 2016. In June 2016, she established Ang’awa & Company Advocates which has offices in Nairobi and Migori.
On the opposite end, defending the BBI was Oginga. He was previously enlisted in former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s presidential petition of 2017. He has also handled other cases such as one challenging the election of Kajiado Governor, Joseph ole Lenku in 2017.
He holds a bachelors degree in law from The University of Nairobi, is a member of the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA) and has completed an Advocates training programme in law at the Kenya School of Law.
Karanja has a Master of Law degree from the University of Leeds and is managing partner at Karanja and Ndwiga Advocates. He says he aspires to be the next big thing in legal activism and shape the country’s constitutional law.
Omoke, on the other hand, is a graduate of the prestigious Harvard Law School where he studied his second Masters in Law after graduating from the University of Nairobi with a first-class honours.
Omoke runs his own law firm, Morara Omoke Advocates, and in an earlier interview with the standard, he said he aspires to be “the next sought after lawyer in dispute resolution with a mission to defend his clients with passion and energy.”
Oganda, a practitioner and law lecturer, faced his senior and former teacher Prof Ben Sihanya, and reminded him of his firnal exhortation to their graduating class:
“He told us go ye, people of Jerusalem, and speak the constitutional truth to power. I am now speaking truth to power.”
Before them, Kethi Kilonzo’s stellar performance during the 2013 presidential election petition where she had to battle it out with senior lawyers- some the age of her late father at the time and others her former lecturers- lifted the lid on the battery of young lawyer’s in the country eager to prove their mettle in the courts.
Then came lawyer Julie Soweto who solidified the place of the young among the “immortals” with an eccentric performance in the 2017 general elections petition that led to the nullification of the Presidential elections.
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