LNBA Delegation Returns From Successful Regional Confabs; Vows More Robustness In Enhancing Rule Of Law
The Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA) has disclosed that its delegation, which recently participated in two regional meetings in Accra, Ghana, and Pretoria, South Africa, has returned to the country with renewed efforts to uncompromisingly enhance rule of law in Liberia and the African continent at large. The LNBA leadership noted that the annual general conferences of the West Africa Bar Association (WABA) in Accra and the African Bar Association (AfBA) in Pretoria, which they attended, were successful, with the LNBA delegation making significant contributions to the topical issues discussed at the meetings. According to the bar, 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”.
In a release issued Monday, August 28, 2023, the LNBA said the meeting brought together the leaderships of bar associations and legal practitioners in the West African sub-region. “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. WABA has been active in a number of areas, including research, training and evidence-based advocacy within four broad program frameworks: Continued Legal Education Program, Legal Aid and Gender, Governance and Human Rights, and Integration and External Linkages. It 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, signed by its Secretary General, Cllr. Bornor M. Varmah, stated.
“Through these actions, 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.
“Also, at the conference the Liberian delegation was openly praised and given standing ovation after all Francophone countries staged a walk-out as a result of differences with the Secretariat of WABA over the conduct of the conference. It took the Liberian delegation’s conflict resolution and mediation skills to break the impasse at the conference. The WABA conference lasted from August 1—3, 2023 in Accra, Ghana,” the release observed.
In a related development, the LNBA delegation, comprising its National President, Cllr. Sylvester D. Rennie, and Secretary General, 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, the release noted, 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, 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, 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, Republic of Ghana, among others.
“During the opening session of the conference, the National President of the Liberian National Bar Association (LNBA), Cllr. Sylvester D. Rennie, and a member of the LNBA, Cllr. Edjerah Edwina Barchue, were both admitted as members of the Governing Council, the highest organ of the African Bar Association. The two were admitted for their long-standing roles in enhancing rule of law in Liberia and the African continent at large.
“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 predicated that by 2025 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,” the release continued.
At this year’s annual general conference, the release said, “AfBA expressed its indifference with the growing wave of insecurity, especially in the West African region, and vehemently condemned the recent un-Constitutional takeover of government by the military in Niger. The annual general conference has called for the unconditional restoration of Constitutional rule in Niger.”