Johannesburg, South Africa – Siaffa Bahn Kemokai, II, a senior student at the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law at the University of Liberia has been elected president for the Federation of African Law Students (FALAS) at the 2022 Annual Conference ranking member of the Liberian delegation to the Federation of African Law Students (FALAS) 2022 Annual Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The Federation is the unifying body of all law students in Africa. It is recognized by the African Bar Association (AfBA) and various international associations and organizations. It is currently present in over thirty-two (32) African countries and has the unique mission of building a united network of African law students who are equipped with exposure and knowledge.
Hundred delegates from various African Universities and Law Faculties across the African continent met at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa from October 3–5, 2022 at a conference of law students from across the continent for this year’s conference.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Challenging the Status Quo in Africa; Changing Legal Perspectives for a Sustainable Legal Future”.
Mr. Kemokai, a former student leader at the States-run University of Liberia received the majority of votes in the Federation’s presidential election. The election, many see to be the rebirth of the organization.
Other African countries were also elected to the leadership of the Federation. A Zimbabwean delegate was elected vice president, a Ugandan delegate as Secretary General, a Nigerian delegate as Deputy Secretary, and a South African delegate as Director for Information and Protocols, and a Liberian law student, Aunt Ophelia Gotoe as Deputy Secretary for Finance.
Speaking after his victory, Mr. Kemokai, who became the first Liberian elected as the president of the continental student body, expressed gratitude and appreciation to the delegates for placing their trust in him to lead the largest association of African law students, and vowed to fulfill his obligations with diligence.
According to him, his leadership would inject new dynamism, unleash creative ideas and the potential of members, and address issues of social justice. Also, Kemokai encouraged the defeated opponent to join the leadership and work for the success of the organization.
The president-elect furthers: “I vowed to unite the organization, reconciliation would be my priority. He also pledged to be a president for all, with an emphasis on delivering for the organization and removing obstacles to justice.”
Mr. Kemokai added: “In emphasizing a shared African approach to law and justice, the fundamental questions of gender equality, funding of terrorism, corruption, and human rights, countries on the continent must follow a unified approach relevant to the African reality, as these challenges impact the continent in the same way.”
The conference among other thing seeks to go beyond conventional legal approaches to sustainability and to provide fresh insights into some of the most critical global challenges of climate change, environmental degradation, terrorist financing, and inequalities.
“It is therefore imperative to provide several avenues to test the efficacy of the law towards a sustainable legal future,” Kemokai said.
He added: “FALAS takes into account Aspiration 5 of Agenda 2063 of the African Union, which envisions an Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics. Thus, the annual conference is an avenue of exposure and awareness for African Law Students aimed at strengthening the network of law students across the African continent.”
The Liberian delegation was led by the president of the Law Students’ Association, Mrs. Williamina Gbardee Elious Budy. Also, part of the delegation was the Dean of the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law, Dr. Jallah Allen Barbu along with Atty. Kebeh S. Freeman Saryon.
Dr. Barbu used the occasion to supervise the Moot Team through the Coach Atty. Saryon. Unfortunately, the Moot competition could not take place as planned due to the 100th anniversary celebrations of Wits University, the host institution.
However, the Dean of the Law School paid a courtesy call on the University of South Africa in Pretoria to build academic relations between the University of Liberia Louis Arthur Grimes School Of Law and the University of South Africa.
Both universities agreed to foster strong ties and cooperation. A formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) is expected to be signed very soon to cement the relationships, which will lead to academic exchange at both the student and faculty levels.