Explore the latest issue of The Platform Magazine, Issue 99, featuring insightful articles on crucial topics such as the judiciary's consultative meeting, confronting impunity, digital ID systems, and geopolitical dynamics in the Horn of Africa.

The recent ruling by the High Court of Kenya in the case involving the Owners of Motor Vessel Haigui (Ann's Import and Export Enterprises Limited) against Galana Energies Limited and others has raised eyebrows, particularly regarding the court's choice of language. In paragraph 45 of its decision, the court bluntly stated that the documents presented by the claimant failed to provide any evidence of purchasing, importing, or requisitioning oil. The court went further, suggesting that based on the evidence, no oil could have left Saudi Arabia.

Exactly two years ago, I met the 50th President of the Law Society, Mr. Eric Theuri, at his chambers having then just ascended to the presidency. He expressed how much his tenure would depend on consensus building; his leadership style had also then been largely lauded as one that prominently features consensus building and exhaustion of local remedial alternatives before escalating issues to external fora. In the ensuing two years, Mr. Theuri worked so closely with Vice-President, Ms. Faith Odhiambo, who as fate would have it, has now been sworn into office as the 51st President of the Law Society of Kenya—serving as the second female President in the history of the law society!

Global technological advancements are entering a transformative phase with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which presents both unprecedented opportunities and challenges. Different approaches reflecting different ideological and strategic orientations have emerged as major world powers struggle to fully utilise AI. China takes a state-first stance, using AI to advance its state security and ideological alignment.1 Examples of this include the establishment of a social credit system and the widespread use of predictive policing.

The global economic landscape is ever-evolving and in recent years we have witnessed a growing interest in the establishment of a common currency among BRICS member nations—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. BRIC was first established in the year 2006 with South Africa joining in 2010 to make it BRICS. Since then, the bloc has become an important platform for economic cooperation among emerging markets and developing countries. Beginning this year on 1st January 2024, BRICS admitted more countries to the Bloc—Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates - which are estimated to add a trillion-plus dollars to the overall BRICS GDP. It appears that this is a strategic approach to building the BRICS’s overall financial power.

To conclude, today is not just a celebration of technological advancement; it is a reaffirmation of our unwavering commitment to delivering justice for all Kenyans. These three technological tools we are launching today, embody our commitment to harnessing technology to serve justice better. They signal our dedication not only to improving the administration of justice but also to ensuring that our judiciary is accessible, responsive, and in tune with the needs of the people we serve.

Binaifer Nowrojee has been appointed as the new president of the Open Society Foundations, marking a historic moment as she becomes the first woman from the Global South to lead the organisation. Following a unanimous decision by the Board of Directors, Binaifer Nowrojee, a distinguished human rights lawyer with a decade-long tenure at Human Rights Watch, will succeed Mark Malloch-Brown. Her extensive experience spans across continents, including Kenya, Tanzania, Singapore, the UK, and the United States.

My phone has not stopped buzzing, from November last year to date, with various candidates for different seats at the Law Society of Kenya seeking my attention with their manifestos and requests for votes. I exercised my right and duty and voted for my preferred candidates for the LSK on 29th February 2024, but well, the messages kept coming, because there were yet other elections to be held for the various branches. It is exhausting, and perhaps we should have a conversation about consolidating all these elections so that they are all held in one day. That is a conversation for another day. Today, I wish to summarize what I have observed over the five months of the campaign and elections.

On 8th March 2024, the world marked International Women’s Day with a call to ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’. Despite growing recognition of the differential vulnerabilities as well as the unique experiences and skills women and men bring to development and environmental sustainability efforts, women still have fewer economic, political and legal opportunities. As a result, women are less able to cope with and are more exposed to the adverse effects of climate change.1 It is important to reflect on the progress made in climate-responsive implementation which is a key focus area of the Gender Action Plan, with attention on gendered access to climate finance. This is with a view to demystifying systemic barriers to women’s access to climate finance, escalating calls for accelerating progress towards equitable access to climate finance in advancing just and equitable climate action.

I extend heartfelt congratulations to Hon. Winfridah Boyani Mokaya on her appointment as the 3rd Chief Registrar of the Judiciary. Hon. Mokaya brings to this pivotal role a wealth of skills, experience, and competencies honed over 27 years of dedicated service in various capacities. I have every confidence that her exceptional administration and management abilities will play a crucial role in advancing the realization of the aspirations that underpin the Judiciary’s strategic blueprint, ‘Social Transformation through Access to Justice (STAJ)’ which is to work towards our collective goal of establishing a justice system that is people-centric, accessible, efficient, and attuned to the needs of the Kenyan people.