The Kituo Annual Paralegal Award (KAPA Awards) was held on Tuesday 21st September 2021 at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies. Over 100 people attended from the paralegal and legal sector.
KAPA awards aimed at celebrating the achievements of paralegals and volunteer advocates from across Kenya. The glamorous KAPA awards saw Kituo award Paralegals and Advocates/Lawyers who have done commendable work in promotion of access to justice in Kenya.
While giving her speech on the opportunities for paralegals within county governments and the judiciary, Hon. Justice Jacquelyn Anam Mogeni who was the key note speaker challenged paralegals to go beyond the tradition practice, focus on empowering and guiding the communities on matters laws.
“There exists a myriad opportunity in public participation and oversight of the counties. As the duty bearers, you need to enhance accountability of the counties. Mobilize communities to get involved in public participation processes. As paralegals you can develop laws, having understood the processes you should guide the communities on what good laws should look like.” Said Hon. Justice Jacquelyn
Among the guests who attended the awards ceremony included; the Chair of Kituo’s Board of Directors, Mr. Justus Munyithia, Kituo’s Executive Director Dr. Annette Mbogo, Mercy Wambua, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Law Society of Kenya, Valerie Angawa, Coordinator Advocacy, Governance and Community Partnership (AGCP) andMr. John Mwariri, Coordinator Legal Aid and Education Department at KITUO.
The event was organized by Kituo Cha Sheria under the AGCP program supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Netherlands and Mott Foundation under a joint objective to promote access to justice for the poor and marginalized.
FINALISTS AND WINNERS 2021
Judith Ochanda – Paralegal of the year 2021
Congratulations to Judith Ochanda who is the 2021 Paralegal of the year. Judith is doing fantastic work at Nyando community justice centre in Kisumu. She is dedicated, committed and has served as a paralegal since the centre was opened in 2006. Judith works well with other paralegals at the justice centre. She is in touch with the community. She has made a significate contribution to access to justice by offering legal advice on seeking remedies and resolving disputes in specific cases.
Joel Katorima – Best Overall Prison Paralegal
Joel is the HRO at Meru GK Prison. He is very passionate and dedicated to his work as a paralegal. He has been instrumental in providing free legal services to inmates, ensuring they understand the charges against them and their right to a fair trial. He accompanies inmates to courts, assist them in understanding court proceedings and drafting legal document.
Joel played a big role of representing seven inmates in a constitutional petition filed by Meru prison paralegals assisted by Kituo Cha Sheria. The Petitioners claim that during the sentencing/ resentencing of the seven paralegals, the judge did not take into account the period the seven inmates spent in custody.
Dr. John Khaminwa – Volunteer advocate of the year 2021
Dr. Khaminwa is a long time Kenyan human rights activist and attorney who has successfully represented over 1000 pro bono clients during his almost 60 years of practice.
He has made key contributions to cases filed on behalf of Kituo. He has led a team of Kituo lawyers in the following public interest litigation cases:
- Case challenging retirement age of lawyers
- 1998 Bomb blast
- Police brutality
- Constitutionality of Kitui Finance Act.
- Garissa terrorist attack case
- BBI Case
- Marsabit cancer cases
Described as a model by many, especially human rights activists, was lead prosecution counsel in the Goldenberg Inquiry. He has also represented seminal personalities from across the political divide. He has made significant contribution in training of pupils to become advocates of the High Court of Kenya.
He championed Karura Forest conservation litigation. Developing the concept of environmental law in Kenya. The case was a victory against the government’s improper exercise of eminent domain.
Dr. Khaminwa spearheaded litigation in which the concept was established in Kenya on October 27, 1986 beforeHon. C.B. Madan. The history of bail pending arrest in this country started with Dr. Khaminwa when he made the application before then Hon. Chief Justice Madan, who granted the order upon an application by a politician client of Khaminwa’s – challenging trumped-up charges.
Langata Women Prison justice centre – Best Prison Justice Centre of the year 2021
The Lang’ata Women Prison Justice center was officially established on the 23rd of March 2016 following 2 weeks intensive paralegal training. Since then, the justice centre run by KITUO’s trained paralegals has been instrumental in offering legal advice to the other inmates, educating them on criminal law and guiding them on how to confidently represent themselves in Court and empower the entire prison community. This has contributed in a big way to the decongestion of prisons and at the same time made justice accessible to those who could not afford the services of an advocate.
All the prison paralegals at langata prison justice centre work collaboratively towards access to justice for the inmates. They have been consistent in sending timely reports on the happening at the centre.
Ali Mwabata – Community Service award 2021
Mwabata is the longest serving paralegal. Even before Lamukani Community Justice centre based in Kwale county, a centre which he coordinates was established in 2001, Mwabata had begun serving the poor and marginalized who needed legal aid services for the aim of obtaining justice. He helped to solve conflicts in good way within the community
His spirit and passion of volunteerism has played a great role in Paralegal work and its development.
Mosongo Maosa – Most promising volunteer advocate of the year 2021
A young, enterprising, and all rounded Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, zealous in promoting access to justice, respect for Human Rights, and the Rule of law.
He has forged a reputable track record in legal practice, positioning himself to be held in very high regard by his peers in the legal profession.
He is an active member of the Law Society of Kenya and sits in the Litigation Committee, and the Law Reform and Devolution Committee of LSK, Nairobi branch.
He has experience in Arbitration, Legal Audit, Legislative Drafting, Legal Research, Trial Advocacy, and is a passionate Human Rights Defender.
Volunteer advocate of the year 2021
2nd Runners up – Ruth Bikambo
Ruth is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya. She is an active Litigant, policy maker, Researcher and a conveyancer, however she is passionate about Family and Constitutional Law.
In 2016 after setting her own law, she decided to join Kituo Cha Sheria as a volunteer Advocate basically to give back to society and since then she has been able to successful prosecute and defend over 1000 cases from Kituo cha Sheria both at the Superior and Lower Courts.
Volunteer advocate of the year 2021
2nd Runners up
Mr. Obara is an advocate of high court of kenya with 25 years standing experience in criminal, civil, family (including adoptions,) conveyance Laws, constitutional petitions, debt collection, and also does matters involving maintenance, custody and care of children.
He is a pro-bono advocate with Kituo Cha Sheria. He has demonstrated an exceptional level of commitment and dedication to a very wide array of pro bono pursuits, serving as an exemplary legal professional with deeply impactful contributions to both client service and law reform, benefiting vulnerable communities extending to millions of people.
Post Humous Award
The late Mr. Steven Ruphinus Adere
In great honor of the late steve adere, Kituo Cha Sheria presented a post humas award to the late family mr. adere to recognize his efforts in promoting access to justice for the poor and marginalized. The post humas award was received by Janet adere, the wife to the late steve adere.
Mr. Adere was a distinguished advocate of the High Court of Kenya practicing constitutional and human rights law, family law, succession, corporate law among other areas of law.
He was a founder member of Kituo Cha Sheria founded on the 9th July 1973 with among other Justice (Rtd) Willy Mutunga, David Gichuki, Murtaza Jaffa, Lady Justice Mary Angáwa and Justice Juma. They founded the organization then known as Kituo Cha Mashauri as advocates who were committed to helping the disadvantaged, poor and marginalised who could not afford the cost of legal services.
He was a member of the board of trustees of Kituo Cha Sheria. He was a long serving board member of the Advocates Benevolent Association.
Mr. Adere was a distinguished lawyer, he inspired upcoming lawyers through several legal achievements and high profile cases argued in court. He will be remembered for advancing the rule of law, mentoring many young advocates, giving a listening ear to anyone and sharing in his wisdom and above all loving his family.
The late Mr. Adere died suddenly on the morning of the 13th March 2021 in Nairobi West Hospital. The death of Mr. Adere was a great loss not only to his family but also to the entire legal fraternity.
Best community justice of the year – Nyando Justice centre
Established in the year 2006 with the help of Kituo cha Sheria through the support of Kingdom of Netherlands embassy, Nyando Justice centre locate in Kisumu county has been focusing on promoting holistic and integrated community-driven development with all human rights for all people in Nyando district.
The Justice centre has been instrumental in Identifying community legal needs and address them. The paralegals at Nyando have shown selfless and dedicated to serving the community in matters of governance, the promotion and protection of human rights and access to justice. They have maintained good working relationship with stakeholders and shown Proper documentation of reports
Ezekiel Njenga – Best paralegal in documentation
Ezekiel has shown great skills of managing and documenting cases that he handles. His great communication skills, both oral and written has seen him share with Kituo cha sheria a number of success stories from Kamukunji community Justice centre where he’s stationed.
Jamia abdulrahim – Best paralegal in Special Interest Group (PIL) Award
Jamia abdulrahim is a community paralegal from Kibera community Justice centre in Nairobi. She has dedicated herself to public interest litigation cases. This year Jamia was instrumental in filling the Kibos case that saw more than 3,500 individuals in Kibos village in Kisumu illegally evicted to pave way for the rehabilitation of the old railway line from Nakuru to Kisumu. Kituo was enjoined as an interested party in this matter.
- Most promising advocate of the year 2021 – Joshua Nyamoro
- Most promising community paralegal awarded to Ibrahim Ogeto, Nakuru
- Post humus award for the late Joseph Onditi-Migori
- Post humus award for the Late Buka Onditi
- Most promising prison paralegal awarded to Matthews Okweso, Kakamega Main prison