By OGADA MESO
Advocates, upon admission to the bar, take oath to dispense¬†justice without fear or favour. They swear/affirm to¬†live by the ideals of their profession. They swear/affirm to¬†live and die defending the law. That is exactly what the late lawyer¬†Willie Kimani died doing-defending justice without fear or favour.¬†When Willie left the court of justice, after pursuing justice for his¬†client, he met injustice. He met his premature death.
Willie went to school like any other¬†kid, worked his way albeit through¬†hard work and did his O-levels. He¬†then secured a place in the University¬†to read law, which efforts culminated¬†to him joining the Kenya¬†School of Law and was eventually¬†admitted to the bar.
Becoming a lawyer/joining the noble¬†profession isn‚Äôt easy. It entails¬†years of hard work and sacrifice.¬†It demands patience, discipline¬†and even after becoming a learned¬†friend, the journey to ‚Äėpractice law‚Äô¬†is never a walk in the park. Each¬†day, apart from zealously defending¬†his client, a lawyer is ever in¬†a difficult state and he is required¬†to balance between his duty to the¬†court and to his client. Eventually,¬†the profession which he owes allegiance¬†to, demands that his duty to¬†court supersedes that of his client.
Death by its nature, though painful,¬†is a peaceful way to transit to the after¬†world. It is a transition to rest after
having achieved or died trying to¬†achieve our earthly endeavors. The¬†transition though, is the most painful¬†aspect of it especially to the family¬†when the circumstances surrounding¬†the demise of their loved one¬†are questionable or frowned upon.¬†Willie‚Äôs demise was unfortunate. He¬†was a bread winner to his family. He¬†was a father, a husband, a brother, a¬†colleague and an integral part of the¬†noble profession. He was hard working,¬†zealous and full of charisma but¬†above all, he was a lawyer who died¬†just defending the oath he took. But¬†like Okoth Gonza says in his book¬†The Cruel Burden, today somebody¬†is there, tomorrow he is not. Rest¬†in peace Willie. You fought a good¬†fight, you kept the oath and finished¬†the race. Your courage will be emulated¬†by the generations to come.¬†When your story will be told, young¬†lawyers will learn and emulate your¬†courage for they will be told that¬†Willie bravely pursued a case against¬†some perceived ‚Äėpowerful‚Äô individuals¬†for the sake of a poor client. That¬†you had the option of bowing out,¬†but that you remembered the oath¬†you took and lived by it. May your¬†family find peace.
Lawyers have a higher calling. The¬†calling of an advocate is one of a¬†kind. Only advocates, the medics¬†and the disciplined forces take oaths¬†in discharging their mandates. In¬†the words of the retired Chief Justice,¬†Willy Mutunga, ‚Äúwhile the soldiers¬†undertake to protect and defend¬†peace and the security of the¬†country, the medics promise to do¬†no harm and to apply their skills to¬†uphold life. However the advocate‚Äôs¬†calling combines the responsibilities¬†of the medics and soldiers: it¬†obliges you to protect the rule of¬†law and to do no harm‚ÄĚ.
An advocate has several duties:¬†Duty to the profession; Duty to the¬†client; Duty to court; Duty to self;¬†Duty to the public; Duty to the society;¬†Duty to his colleagues. Even¬†though all these duties are important,¬†law lecturers and scholars alike¬†will tell you that the duty to court¬†supersedes all the other duties.¬†However, that to me is debatable.
When the accused persons were arraigned¬†in court and the LSK subsequently¬†moved court for the writ¬†of habeas corpus, my senior and respectable¬†defense lawyer Mr. Cliff¬†Ombeta stood up boldly to defend¬†his clients. Similarly on the 18th July¬†2016, the accused were arraigned¬†in court to take plea. Even though¬†the court as presided over by Hon.
LJ Lesiit denied them bail and ruled¬†that they be remanded for 18days¬†pending the conclusion of investigations,
Mr. Ombeta once more in the¬†full glares of the camera submitted¬†that the time prescribed by the court¬†was too long. This he did knowing¬†well that as an Advocate of the High¬†Court of Kenya, all the duties mentioned¬†above were bestowed upon¬†him. He remembered the oath he¬†took; to defend and dispense justice%