Today, 3rd July, 2020, is a momentous day for me – I will be entering my 50th year as a practising Advocate, and am celebrating the event by launching this blog – related to all aspects and challenges of Kenyan law, lawyers and intricate web the emerging jurisprudence poses.
The blog is published under the tag: “https://lawbilamaneno.com/”. “Bila maneno” in Kiswahili means ‘without fuss’. The connotation of law ‘without fuss’ is not my thinking.
In the Milimani High Court Civil Case No. 171 of 2000 Justice (Retired) A.G Ringera in the case of Remco Limited -Vs- Mistry Javal Parbal and Co. Limited & Two Others used the term to emphasize the litigant’s desire to get a remedy as of right as follows:
“The upshot of my consideration of the Defendant’s application is that I order the default judgment herein and the consequential orders to be set aside ex debito justitiae and bila maneno to the Defendant save……..…”.
A word about myself. I joined the Kenya School of Law, as it then was in 1966 and after five years under articles was admitted to the Roll of Advocates on 3rd July 1971. I had the distinction of being awarded The Law Society Prize for the Best Overall Results for the academic year 1970/71.
Immediately on being admitted to the Roll of Advocates, I started my private practice in Nakuru. I have had a fruitful, interesting and fulfilling innings. Representing ordinary citizens was the most rewarding. In the course of my duties I have represented Chief Justices, Ministers, Assistant Minister, Members of Parliament, Advocates and Judges in demanding and sometimes politically volatile situations.
I was involved in the “Anguka” murder trial which “The Daily Nation” branded as “The longest and most dramatic trial in Kenya’s legal history” and conducted a hearing of a Kenyan murder trial in the company of now Supreme Court Judge Isaac Lenaola in London. Weighty matters in the fields of constitutional law, intellectual property, tort, land law and family law have spanned my career, assisted in many by my former partner, David Maraga, now the Chief Justice of the Republic.
I have been a freelance journalist since my student days – I wrote my first feature article in the “Daily Nation” in 1968 and also wrote extensively in the “East African Standard”.
I have written for the “Lawyer” magazine edited then by the now Lady Justice Mumbi Ngugi and regularly wrote articles for the “Nairobi Law Monthly” and was rewarded by being arrested and questioned on my journalistic exploits.
I remain inspired after my recent successful engagement in the defence of Police Commissioner M’mbijiwe and more recently Frank Wanyama, the Kenya Rugby player whose conviction and sentence of 15 years in a sexual offence case was set aside a few days ago.
I will have to get down now to some daunting reading and writing. Since the promulgation of the Constitution on 27th August 2010 up to the end of 2019, 347 new Acts of Parliament have been enacted and hundreds of others amended. Guess I will start of by reading The Companies Act, (Act 17 of 2015) which has 1,026 Sections printed on 1,022 pages (and those entrusted with publishing the law did not deem it fit to have an index!).
Stay tuned, as I endeavour to unravel the joys of my engagement with Kenyan laws, bila maneno!