Clerks from Kenya join ConCourt as part of the African Law Clerks Exchange Programme
The Constitutional Court Trust welcomes Peter Keya and Nicholas Mayieka of the Supreme Court of Kenya to the Constitutional Court for six months, from January to June 2019, as part of the African Law Clerks Exchange Programme.
Nicholas Mayieka has been a Law Clerk at the Supreme Court of Kenya since September 2017, having previously worked as a Legal Officer at the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission for a year and served as a Judicial Legal Researcher at the High Court for four years.
Peter Keya is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a Law Clerk attached to the Supreme Court of Kenya. He previously served as a Legal Researcher at the Court of Appeal in Kenya. He is currently attached to Justice Mbuyiseli Madlanga of the Constitutional Court of South Africa. He explains why he was motivated to apply to participate in the ALCE programme.
Having served as a law clerk in Kenya for a while, I was keen to get a different perspective from another jurisdiction. Following the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010, Kenya is on the path of a new constitutional dispensation, having borrowed heavily from the South African constitution particularly on the Bill of Rights. The unique South African historical experience offers an opportunity on the progressive realisation of constitutional rights through courts. In addition, I am adventurous and like to travel to new places. I therefore did not mind visiting and staying South Africa for a while and I hope I will finally get the opportunity to see the Atlantic Ocean for the first time in my life.
After their first few weeks at the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Kenyan clerks share their first impressions of the Constitutional Court. According to Peter: "The court structure is quite magnificent and is a product of so much thoughts, input and art, despite the fact that it was under renovation and maintenance at the time I came. The court staff and judges are down to earth and easy to relate with. I was surprised at how the work processes and flow are so structured like a factory setting that it gives me an idea of how the agrarian or industrial revolution must have been. Otherwise, it is interesting to realise the similarities and differences in cultural and social relations between Kenya and South Africa."
Nicholas was taken with how the Court transforms into a museum and art gallery of sorts!
I was also impressed by the nguni cow hides that don the Court bench and its cultural significance, as well as the art works displayed all around the Court (and even in the Justices’ chambers!!). It makes for a more friendly and relaxed working environment!