LNBA Officials Admitted to Governing Council of AfBA -Delegation Returns from Int’l Confabs

By: Matthew Turry

MONROVIA: A delegation of the Liberia National Bar Association (LNBA) which has returned home from two major international conferences, the Annual Conferences of the West Africa Association WABA and the African Bar in Accra and Pretoria Respectively, has disclosed two of its members have been admitted to the Governing Council of the African Bar Association (AfBA), the highest organ of the body.

A release stated that LNBA President Cllr. Sylvester D. Rennie and a member of the LNBA, Cllr. Edjerah Edwina Barchue, were both admitted to the Council opening session of the Annual Conference of African Bar In Pretoria, South Africa.

The two LNBA members were admitted for their long standing roles in enhancing rule of law in Liberia and on the African Continent at large, according to an LNBA release.

The release said the Leadership of Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) has since announces that the Bar’s delegation that recently participated in two regional meetings in Accra, Ghana and Pretoria, South Africa has returned to the country with renew efforts to uncompromisingly enhance rule of Law in Liberia and the African Continent at large.

The LNBA Leadership further said in the release that the Annual General Conferences of the West Africa Bar Association WABA in Accra and the African Bar Association (AfBA) in Pretoria, South Africa were successful with the LNBA delegation making significant contributions to the topical issues discussed at those meetings.

An LNBA press release signed by its National Secretary General, Cllr. Bornor M. Varmah, quotes the Bar as saying that the conference of the West Africa Bar Association was held under the theme: “Promoting Democratic Consolidation through the respect of the rule of law and human rights: Leveraging the role of Bar Associations”.

The meeting brought together the Leaderships of Bar Associations and legal Practitioners in the West African sub region. The Bar says, WABA has done enough to respond to human rights and rule of law challenges which have continued to significantly impact democratic consolidation, good governance, sustainable peace and development in the region.

According to the LNBA leadership, WABA has been active in a number of areas including research, training and evidence- based advocacy within four broad program frameworks namely: Continued Legal Education Program, Legal Aid and Gender, Governance and Human Rights and integration and external Linkages.

“WABA has leveraged its vast membership to sustain advocacy against actions by national authorities that undermine the rule of law, respect of human rights and democratic principles,” the LNBA release further said.

Through these actions, the LNBA leadership indicated in the release that WABA has established important institutional and strategic partnerships with key bilateral and multilateral stakeholders including UN, AU, ECOWAS, Diplomatic Corps, Civil society organizations and Community based organizations.

“At the end of the conference, it was resolved that a committee of three be set up and drawn from Anglophone, Francophone and Luxophone regions to make up the transitional committee to oversee constitutional amendments and the election of Executive Officers of WABA. The President of the Sierra Leonean Bar Association, Michaela Barbaro Eddinio Swallow was elected as head of the Transitional leadership of WABA,” the release explained.

Also at the conference, the Liberian delegation was openly praised and given standing ovation after all Francophone Countries staged a walkout as a result of differences with the Secretariat of WABA over the conduct of the conference because it took the Liberian delegation’s conflict resolution and mediation skills to break the impasse at the conference. The WABA’s conference lasted from August 1 to 3, 2023 in Accra Ghana.

In a related development, the LNBA delegation consisting of its National President and National Secretary General, Cllrs. Sylvester D. Rennie and Bornor M.Varmah proceeded to Pretoria, South Africa to participate in the Annual General Conference of the African Bar Association (AfBA).

The conference was held under the theme: “Building the Legal Profession in Africa under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA)” The AFBA Annual Conference was hosted by the University of South Africa (UNISA), in collaboration with the South African Bar Association.

The keynote address was delivered by HON. JUSTICE DESMOND EDWARDS, Hon. Chief Justice of the Republic of Sierra Leone. Also addressing the Annual Conference of the AfBA were:  Prof. Puleng Lenkabula, Principal and vice Chancellor-University of South Africa, Advocate Bart Ford-Chairman of the South African Bar Association, Hon. Justice Raymond Zondo-Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Roland Lamola- Minister of Justice and Correctional Services of South Africa and His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo- President of the Republic of Ghana, amongst others.

In the release issued yesterday in Monrovia, the LNBA said, the recent annual conference of the African Bar Association in South Africa was convened to position AfBA as the fearless voice of the legal profession in Africa.

Afba’s stance demonstrates the strength and backbone that Africa desperately seeks from respected institutions to protect and lead Africa to absolute greatness.

“With the recent thematic discussion around the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, it was predicted that by 2050, Africa will input its economic potential to 29 Trillion, thus elevating 30 million people to the better standard of living and increasing the income of 68 million people.

“Lawyers on the continent agreed at the conference that without a continental market under AfCFTA, Africa could remain as an insignificant player in global trade.

“At this year’s annual general conference, AfBA expressed its indifference with the growing wave of insecurity especially in the West African region and vehemently condemned the recent unconstitutional takeover of government by the military in Niger.

“The Annual General Conference has called for the unconditional restoration of constitutional rule in Niger,” the release concluded.

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