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Africa in the 2010s Decade

10 Influential Male Lawyers who defined Africa’s Decade (Part 1 of 2)

Lawyers played a centre stage in the history of the world and of Africa. In a separate instalment, Africa Legal News features female lawyers who shaped Africa. In this two-part instalment, we highlight their male counterparts. In the first issue, we look at PLO Lumumba, Jordan Kinyera and Chidi Odinkalu. We also feature Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi of South Africa and the late President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

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Part of the AfricaLegalNews Africa in the 2010s Decade Series

Lawyers played a centre stage in the history of the world and of Africa. In a separate instalment, Africa Legal News features female lawyers who shaped Africa. In this two-part instalment, we highlight their male counterparts. In the first issue, we look at PLO Lumumba, Jordan Kinyera and Chidi Odinkalu. We also feature Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi of South Africa and the late President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.

1. Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba (Kenya)

Patrick Loch Otieno Lumumba, better known as Professor PLO Lumumba is a lawyer based in Kenya.  He served as Director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission from September 2010 to August 2011. He has also been Director of the Kenya School of Laws.

PLO Lumumba has been an outspoken advocate for transparency and democracy

Lumumba has been an outspoken advocate for transparency and democracy, and this has earned him awards as well as enmity by the other African States. In 2018, he was denied entry into Zambia where he was due to address a forum on China Africa relations.

 He is the author of Kenya’s Quest for a Constitution: The Postponed Promise, Call for political hygiene in Kenya and many other works on law and politics.

Lumumba holds a PhD in Laws of the sea from the University of Ghent in Belgium.

2. Tembeka Ngcukaitobi (South Africa)

Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi is a lawyer and writer from South Africa. Ngcukaitobi is a member of the South African Law Reform Commission.

Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, a critical part of modern South African political and legal history

Ngcukaitobi has been a critical part of the recent Southern African political and legal history. Ngcukaitobi represented the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters in a case arguing for the State Capture Report to be released in the North Gauteng High Court. He was also part of the legal team challenging Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections.

 Ngcukaitobi is the author of The Land Is Ours: South Africa’s First Black Lawyers and the Birth of Constitutionalism.

 Ngcukaitobi also worked extensively on the public interest law sector at the Legal Resources Centre, a leading South African public interest law centre where he became Director of its Constitutional Litigation Unit.

He holds a BProc, LLB (Unitra), LLM (Rhodes) and LLM (London School of Economics).

3. Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe)

Robert Mugabe was the Prime Minister and former President of Zimbabwe, having led the county to independence from white settler rule in 1980. The 2010s finally saw the stepping down of long-time leader Robert Mugabe, a man of many professions including law, economics, public management and education

Mugabe stepped down after a military-led uprising in November 2017 and was to die two years later in September 2019. His removal from office has been a subject of debate on constitutionalism.

Robert Mugabe is sworn in as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe in 1980

Robert Mugabe made a tremendous influence, both negative and positive, on Pan-Africanism and back empowerment as well as on legal and political developments in Zimbabwe and the Third World in his lifetime.

Mugabe earned two law degrees in prison in the pre-independence days, namely a Bachelor and a Master of Laws from the University of London (External Programme) among other qualifications.

4. Jordan Kinyera (Uganda)

Jordan Kinyera is a lawyer from Uganda. He attained his law degree after seeing his family lose its land. The High Court of Appeal in Uganda finally ruled in his father’s favour in 2019, finalising over two decades of legal disputes. He is now involved in assisting other people engaged in similar conflicts. His case is compelling in Africa, where several people lose land in disputes with corporates or to wealthy individuals who can afford to hire big-name lawyers.

Jordan Kinyera

5. Chidi Odinkalu (Nigeria)

Chidi Odinkalu is a lawyer and human rights activist from Nigeria. He has also worked as a law lecturer and writer. He was chairperson of Nigeria’s National Human Rights. He advised various international organisations such as the Ford Foundation, World Bank, African Union and International Council for Human Rights Policy, Geneva; and many others. In 2018, he co-authored Too Good to Die: Third Term and the Myth of the Indispensable Man in Africa .

Chidi Odinkalu

Odinkalu is currently the Senior Managing Legal Officer for the Open Society Foundation’s Open Society Justice Initiative.

Odinkalu holds a PhD in law from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Africa in the 2010s Decade

10 Influential Female Lawyers who defined Africa’s Decade (Part 2 of 2)

Africa Legal News researched on major legal events and persons who shaped Africa’s decade in the 2010s. The second installment on female lawyers is here.

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chafika
Part of the AfricaLegalNews Africa in the 2010s Series

Africa Legal News researched on major legal events and persons who shaped Africa’s decade in the 2010s. The first instalment is here. In this second instalment on female lawyers, we feature Rose Ntumba Kaja (DRC), Raja Nicola Eissa Abdel-Masih (Sudan), Bensaoula Chafika (Algeria), Julia Sebutinde (Uganda) and Joyce Aluoch (Kenya).

6. Rose Ntumaba Kaja (DRC)

Rose Ntumaba Kaja is a lawyer from the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2014 she was elected to be the first female president of the Lubumbashi Bar in Katanga. She was elected for a three-year term.

Rose Katumba Kaja, first female presdient of the Lubumbashi bar

Rose Tumba Kaja obtained her license in economic and social law with distinction from the University of Lubumbashi (Unilu) in 1993. She began her law practice in 1998. She also lectured at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lubumbashi. In 2002, she became a founding member of the international criminal bar in Montreal, Canada. She has been on the list of advisers to the International Criminal Court in The Hague since 2005.

In her statement, after the election to the Lubumbashi Bar, Ntumba Kaja indicated the need for women’s equality.

” In our profession, there is no sex on the toga. There is nothing particular that I want to bring as a woman if it is not my experience and my professional maturity. I indeed have the heart of a woman and a mother. But I will be the pater familias of all lawyers . ” said Rose Ntumba Kaja as reported by Radio Okapi.

7.Raja Nicola Eissa Abdel-Masih (Sudan)

On 21 August 2019, Raja Nicola Eissa Abdel-Masih was one of six civilians appointed to the 11-member Sovereignty Council of Sudan.  She was the choice of both the Forces of Freedom and Change alliance and the Transitional Military Council.

Abdel-Masih (in white) is one of only two women in Sudan Sovereignty Council

The eleven-member Sovereignty Council of Sudan is the collective head of state of Sudan, for 39 months starting 20 August 2019 and ending in November 2022. The August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration created the council.

The Draft Constitutional Declaration provides that the Council be composed of five civilians chosen by the Forces of Freedom and Change alliance, five military representatives selected from by the Transitional Military Council, and a civilian selected by agreement between the FFC and TMC.

Abdel-Masih worked as a judge in the Sudanese Ministry of Justice in Khartoum from 1982 until her 2019 appointment to the Sovereignty Council.

Abdel-Masih graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Cairo University in 1980.

8.Bensaoula Chafika (Algeria)

Bensaoula Chafika from  Algeria was elected judge of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in January 2017 during the 28th Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, for a six-year term.

Justice Bensaoula at the African Court on Human and People’s Rights

Dr Bensaoula is also a lecturer at the National School of Magistracy in Algeria. She has held several key positions in the judiciary and administration of Algeria, including Judge at the Criminal Affairs Chambers for cases involving delinquents, Judge at the Court of Appeal, Member of the Board of Directors of the Institut de Droit et Justice, Inspector of Administrative and Judicial Courts.

As an academic, she has authored many works such as :

  • The issue of mediation in Algerian Civil and Administrative Procedure Code ;
  • Conciliation in Administrative Matters ;
  • Enforcement of administrative judgments by the administration ;
  •  The use of audio-visual evidence.

Dr Bensaoula speaks Arabic, English and French.

Dr Bensaoula holds a Doctorate Degree in Public Law.

9.Julia Sebutinde (Uganda)

Julia Sebutinde is a judge from Uganda who seats on the International Court of Justice.

Judge Julia Sebutinde

Judge Julia Sebutinde made history by becoming the first African woman to sit on the International Court of Justice bench. She was nominated by Croatia, Denmark, and Uganda. She became a judge of the ICJ  in March 2012.

 Before her election to the ICJ, Judge Julia Sebutinde was a judge of the Special Court for Sierra Leone since 2007.

She will be one of the judges hearing the case of Myanmar’s human rights violations against the Rohingyas, which was submitted by The Gambia.

Judge Sebutinde graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University in 1977. She obtained a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in Kampala, Uganda in 1978. The judge also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Edinburgh in 1991. In 2009, in recognition of her body of work and contribution to international justice, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University of Edinburgh as well.

10. Joyce Aluoch (Kenya)

Joyce Aluoch was a Judge of the International Criminal Court for most of the 2010s decade. She is a lawyer from Kenya and former judge of the High Court of Kenya.

Lady Justice Joyce Aluoch, the first female Vice President of the ICJ

Lady Joyce Aluoch was elected to the International Criminal Court in 2009 from the African group of states. At the ICC, she dealt with critical cases such as the situations in Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the cases of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi (Libya), Ahmad al-Mahdi (Mali), the Gaza flotilla raid and the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba.

In 2015, she became the first women to be elected Vice President of the ICJ.

Lady Justice Aluoch holds a Law Degree from the University of Nairobi, a Diploma in Legal Studies from the Kenya School of Law and a Master’s Degree in International Relations obtained in 2008 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

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Africa in the 2010s Decade

10 Influential Female Lawyers who defined Africa’s Decade (Part 1 of 2)

Africa Legal News researched on major legal events and persons who shaped Africa’s decade in the 2010s. In this first instalment, we feature Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court, Thuli Madonsela of South Africa, Catherine Samba-Panza of the Central African Republic, Marie Thérèse Mukamulisa of Rwanda and Beatrice Mtetwa of Zimbabwe.

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Part of the AfricaLegalNews Africa in the 2010s Series

Female lawyers shaped the history of Africa in the 2010s. They did so in various fields ranging from international humanitarian law, human rights, the environment, international relations and in domestic and international politics. Africa Legal News researched on major legal events and persons who shared Africa’s decade in the 2010s. In this first instalment, we feature Fatou Bensouda of the International Criminal Court, Thuli Madonsela of South Africa, Catherine Samba-Panza of the Central African Republic, Marie Thérèse Mukamulisa of Rwanda and Beatrice Mtetwa of Zimbabwe.

1.Fatou Bensouda  (The Gambia)

Fatou Bensouda is a lawyer from The Gambia who has been the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court since 2012.

In 2019, she took centre stage when she requested to launch an investigation into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in 2003 and 2004 by the Taliban, Afghan government forces, and US soldiers and CIA officers.  Powerful states such as the US went out of their way to revoke her visa when she wanted to investigate the Afghan related crimes of the United States.

In 2019, Bensouda announced that following a “thorough, independent and objective assessment of all reliable information available” to her Office, the preliminary examination into the Situation in Palestine had been concluded. She indicated that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome Statute for the opening of an investigation” against Israel.  

Bensouda was elected by consensus to be Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court by the Assembly of States Parties in December 2011. She was sworn in on 15 June 2012.

Bensouda also worked as Legal Adviser and Trial Attorney at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in Arusha, Tanzania, and rose to become Senior Legal Advisor and Head of The Legal Advisory Unit.

In the past, Bensouda also took part in negotiations on the treaty of the Economic Community of West African States, the West African Parliament and the ECOWAS Tribunal. She served as a delegate to United Nations conferences on crime prevention, the Organization of African Unity’s Ministerial Meetings on Human Rights, and as a delegate of The Gambia to the meetings of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court.

Bensouda holds a Master’s degree in International Maritime Law and Law of The Sea.

2.Thulisile Nomkhosi “Thuli” Madonsela (South Africa)

The days of the Jacob Zuma presidency in South Africa can never be complete without a mention of Advocate Thuli Madonsela. Madonsela served as the Public Protector of South Africa from 19 October 2009 to 14 October 2016.

A book on Thuli Madonsela’

She fearlessly investigated corruption and released several critical reports aimed at encouraging public accountability and good governance.

Her most critical reports were the State of Capture, and Secure in Comfort reports. The latter touched on abuse of funds in the security-related re-construction of President’s Zuma’s rural home. The former investigated alleged improper and unethical conduct by the President and other state functionaries relating to alleged inappropriate relationships and involvement of the Gupta family in the removal and appointment of Ministers and Directors of State-Owned Enterprises resulting in the improper and possibly corrupt award of state contracts and benefits to the Gupta family’s businesses.

Her courage was inspirational around the world.

Madonsela holds a BA in Law from the University of Swaziland, an LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Doctor of Laws degree, LL. D. (Honoris causa) from the University of Stellenbosch.

3. Catherine Samba-Panza  (Central African Republic)

The Central African Republic saw one of the most fearsome civil wars in the 2010s. In stepped Catherine Samba-Panza. Samba-Panza, a lawyer, was chosen as interim President of the Central African Republic in January 2014 to lead the country after periods of sectarian killings.

Catherine Samba-Panza, former leader of the Central African Republic

Samba-Panza became Africa’s third female head of state. The others were President Joyce Banda of  Malawi and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia.

On 30 March 2016, Catherine Samba-Panza handed over power to President-elect Faustin-Archange Touadéra.

For taking leadership in a time of great crisis, she was one of the most influential figures in the 2010s.

4.Marie Thérèse Mukamulisa  (Rwanda)

Marie Thérèse Mukamulisa is a lawyer from Rwanda. In 2016, she was appointed to a six-year term on the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

In the past, she was a lecturer in Comparative Law at the University of Rwanda and a Judge of the Supreme Court of Rwanda.

Marie Thérèse Mukamulisa (Pic: African Court website)

Her appointment at the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights had at times been met with controversy though, due to Rwanda’s position on the locus standi on non-governmental organisations.

Mukamulisa holds a degree in Civil Law from the University of Rwanda, an LLB (Common law) from the University of Moncton, Canada (1993) and a Masters in Genocide Studies and Prevention from the Center for Conflict Management, University of Rwanda.

5. Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe)

Beatrice Mtetwa is one of the top Zimbabwean human rights lawyers and activists. She is a past President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and is a leading member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Mtetwa represented journalists and voluntary organisations affected by oppressive laws in Zimbabwe. She has herself been a victim of state violence.

Beatrice Mtetwa (left) with Michelle Obama

She has received awards for her work such as the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Ludovic-Trarieux International Human Rights Prize, the 2010 International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association, the 2011 Inamori Ethics Prize by Case Western Reserve University. She was a recipient of the International Women of Courage Award in 2014.

Mtetwa holds an LLB from the University of Botswana and Swaziland.

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