Kenya’s legal landscape shaken by alleged unscrupulous attorney

By Esther Muhozi
On 17 October 2023 at 11:36

A contentious dispute has erupted in Kenya, as reported by the Law Society Gazette, concerning the legitimacy of a lawyer who has been branded as a fraud by some but hailed as a hero by an increasingly growing group of supporters.

The individual at the center of this controversy is Brian Mwenda, who recently garnered national and international attention when claims emerged that he had won 26 legal cases in court, even though he lacked the qualifications to appear in the High Court.

Mwenda’s supporters passionately assert that he is a champion who has exposed fundamental flaws within the justice system and has represented individuals who might otherwise have been unable to pursue their legal rights. However, the professional regulatory body in the country, the Law Society of Kenya, issued a statement on a Friday that categorically labeled Mwenda as a ’masquerader’ and a ’criminal.’ According to the Law Society, he had attempted to misuse the profile of a legitimate advocate to access the organization’s online systems and had deceived clients to illicitly obtain fees from them.

In the wake of an emergency council meeting of the Law Society, its president, Eric Theuri, delivered a stern message: "Masqueraders pose a grave threat to the practice of law, and [the society] is resolute in taking decisive action to address this issue. We call on our members to remain vigilant and to promptly report any suspected cases of masqueraders for thorough investigation and apprehension."

A video circulated during the weekend, featuring Theuri, where he implored people not to view Mwenda as a hero but rather as a ’fugitive’ who was attempting to evade arrest.Notably, Mwenda was admitted to the Kenyan bar in August of the previous year. However, he did not apply for a practicing certificate, as he was employed at the Office of the Attorney General.

Adding a twist to the unfolding drama, former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko appeared in a video alongside Mwenda, offering his support. The individual who purported to be Mwenda in the video denied attempting to evade arrest, stating that he would willingly present himself to the police in the coming week. He insisted that he was a law-abiding citizen and aimed to convince people that ’it’s not just the text of the law that should count but the purpose.’

Mwenda's supporters passionately assert that he is a champion who has exposed fundamental flaws within the justice system.