By Agwanda Saye
Lawyers from East Africa will converge in Nairobi to deliberate regional constitutional and governance reforms this week.
East Africa Law Society (EALS) President Mr. James Mwamu said that States in the region are experiencing reforms in the wake of electoral cycles.
“East Africa partner States are experiencing constitutional and governance reforms amidst mismatching limitations in democratic practices,” Mr. Mwamu said.
The Independent Elections and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Chairman Mr. Isaak Hassan will officially open the two day seminar on Thursday (October 24th) at Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi.
The EALS President said that other participants include facilitators from the EAC secretariat, the East African Legislative Assembly and Judges from Regional and National Courts.
“National Ministries in charge of EAC Affairs, EALS, Media practitioners, seasoned and accomplished legal practitioners and scholars will be present,” Mwamu said.
The theme of the seminar is “Inclusive and Participatory Electoral Processes; the Role of the National Law Society”.
The EALS President said that there was reducing respect for civil liberties and under resourced political institutions.
“Upcoming electoral cycles in the region from 2015 to 2017 have compelled the legal profession to deliberate ways of ensuring electoral systems and processes are credible,” Mwamu said.
The EALS President said that there should be legal avenues citizens’ population to select and hold their elected leaders to account.
“The objectives of the seminar include building a critical mass of lawyers actively engaged in ensuring participatory and inclusive electoral processes within EAC partner States,” Mwamu said.
He said that lawyers from the region also seek to strengthen the capacity and voice of the profession to foster adherence to democratic principles by the EAC partner States.
“We need to share best practices on the management and conduct of electoral processes across East Africa by the legal profession, including the development of an Election Monitoring and Observation Manual for Law Societies,” Mwamu said.
The EALS works to enhance the rule of law, human rights and good governance with a view to promoting sustainable social and economic development and enjoys formal Observer Status with the EAC and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.