The Association of Law Reform Agencies of Eastern and Southern Africa (ALRAESA) is a regional body of Law Reform Agencies in Eastern and Southern Africa. These Law Reform Agencies have a mandate to assist in elimination of anomalies and inconsistencies in the Law while providing support for development of new approaches to the reform of law in response to changing social, economic and political circumstances. The Association’s mission is to support these mandates while also providing a platform for sustainable Law reform practices within the region.
ALRAESA was established in Windhoek, Namibia, in August, 2003. Its membership consists of Law Reform Agencies of Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Swaziland, Botswana and Rwanda.
The Association’s work is organized at regional and country level, focusing on the citizen as the driver of change. ALRAESA provides a podium for comparative knowledge sharing in matters related to Law Reform. It also brings law reform knowledge to national and local actors and facilitates dialogue in support of Law review processes.
Over the years since its establishment, ALRAESA has held annual conferences in different countries amongst its membership, the last having been hosted by the Namibia Law Reform Commission. The annual conferences present opportunities for the ALRAESA membership to hold Annual General and Executive meetings. They have also been used as avenues to share experiences on emerging areas in Law Reform in the Continent. It is against this backdrop that Kenya Law Reform Commission is hosting this year’s Annual Conference on the 28th-29th November in Nairobi, Kenya.
Significantly, with the current political impasse in the Country, Law reform is seen as the most logical step in aiding the country’s healing and upholding its democracy. Modernization of the law is a fundamental operational principle for law reform. The desire for improved provisions for the better expression and protection of human rights has been raised from time to time not only in Kenya but in the continent.
While acknowledging that law reform can only be realized within a framework agreed within government and the legislature, there’s need for Law Reform Agencies to have crucial expertise and hands-on experience regarding law reform-related matters, as well as an extended network of partners that are relevant for Law review processes. These processes may sometimes require time to actualize solutions to the challenges arising from the dynamic political, economic and socio-cultural aspects of a society.
The theme of this year’s ALRAESA Conference is “Role of Law Reform Agencies in Emerging Democracies”. This theme is informed by recent developments that followed the annulment of the Presidential Elections by the Supreme Court of Kenya on 1st September, 2017. This, without a doubt, is unprecedented in Africa and the global arena is indeed keen to observe how this situation evolves. This Land mark decision by the Supreme Court of Kenya will no doubt inform electoral processes not only in Africa but within other Commonwealth jurisdictions and the world at large.