Row over Juba EALS membership
A GROUP of lawyers from South Sudan have protested the admission of the country’s umbrella body for lawyers, the South Sudan Bar Association (SSBA) into the East Africa Law Society (EALS), saying its members were planted by the government and do not necessarily represent the country's bar.
SSBA joined the regional society on December 1, during its annual general meeting held in Mombasa, Kenya. The other members are the Law Society of Kenya, Uganda Law Society, Tanganyika Law Society, Rwanda Bar Association, Burundi Bar Association and the Zanzibar Law Society.
Members of the Legitimate South Sudan Bar Association, said they are considering challenging EALS’S action in the regional court. LSSBA vice-president Kiir Chol Deng termed SSBA “a private Bar” established by the country’s ruling party in violation to the Constitution of South Sudan.
EALS chief executive Hanningtone Amol said the society admitted SSBA since it was the only statutory body acknowledged by Juba.
“We have admitted SSBA after we visited the country for a fact-finding mission and held a consultative meeting with government officials and lawyers. It was the only option we had since it was the only statutory body acknowledged by government,” he said.
But Mr Deng said the EALS did not conduct due diligence on the SSBA.
“It is our fear that admitting a private Bar will not only undermine the rule of law in the country but also encourage, promote, facilitate and impose illegalities on the legal fraternity of South Sudan,” he said.