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April 2018 Quarterly Newsletter

26 Apr 2018 - 11:45
The April 2018 Quarterly newsletter is available here....
 
Editorial
THREATS to judicial independence have made troubling headlines in Africa over the last few months, with judges in a number of countries experiencing problems. We in Jifa are concerned about the situation and pledge to keep everyone in our network aware of developments as they come to our notice.
 
Nowhere have threats to judicial independence sparked more international publicity than in Kenya but reports and judgments from other states show that the judiciary is under pressure elsewhere too.
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At first, Kenya seemed a good-news story for the rule of law and judicial independence. When that country’s highest court, led by the chief justice, David Maraga, ruled that last August’s elections were invalid and had to be re-run ( http://kenyalaw.org/caselaw/cases/view/140478/ ) government obeyed the court’s order. Despite some grumbling, new elections took place.
For the CEO of the SADC Lawyers’ Association, Stanley Nyamanhindi, this was an impressive moment in the legal history of Kenya and the region. Kenya’s government also won the admiration of the international community with its obedience to the court’s orders. He said it seemed at the time that the judiciary was strong and independent, and that it enjoyed the respect of the government and the people.
 
The rule of law appeared strong and Kenya “was almost something of an example to the rest of Africa,” he said. “The judiciary gave a ruling and the whole country obeyed. It was exemplary.”
 
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