A man posing as a lawyer in Kenya has sparked debate after winning 26 court cases before finally being arrested by authorities.
Brian Mwenda was apprehended for falsely presenting himself as an advocate of the High Court of Kenya. Photos show him dressed in legal robes and a wig while arguing cases across various courts.
According to local media, Mwenda successfully litigated cases before High Court judges, magistrates and Court of Appeal judges without being a certified lawyer. He had managed to avoid detection until his recent arrest.
The remarkable feat has fueled discussion on social media with many arguing Mwenda deserves a law license since he outperformed trained lawyers. Some questioned whether law school is necessary if he could win cases without it.
However, the Kenyan authorities maintain Mwenda committed a crime by practicing law illegally regardless of his court record. Local lawyers dismissed opinions that formal legal education is insignificant.
While amazed that Mwenda could win 26 consecutive cases, legal experts contend he exposed flaws in the legal system which failed to detect an impostor. The case has triggered debate on measuring real legal skills beyond just academic qualifications.
Meanwhile, the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Kenya), COTU (K), has thrown its support behind Brian Mwenda Njagi, the man who has gone viral for purporting to be an advocate of the High Court.
COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli in a statement on Saturday said the organization recognizes Mwenda’s efforts in line with the principle of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) further pushing for a fair examination of his knowledge, skills, and competencies in the field of law.
According to Atwoli, Mwenda whom the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has already ordered for his arrest should be accorded room to pursue his dream irrespective of academic qualifications.
“COTU (K) wishes to express its strong support for Brian Mwenda Njagi, a young and brilliant Kenyan who has recently faced condemnation for practising law without the traditional law qualifications,” stated Atwoli.
“If, indeed, it’s true that Brian has been practising law and successfully representing clients in legal matters, we strongly advocate for a fair and transparent examination to test his knowledge, skills, and competencies in the field of law.”
Atwoli cites his leadership capacity and experience over the years to argue that many professionals have excelled in different fields without having any professional qualifications.
He therefore calls on the government to recognize the skills and talents of youths who have acquired expertise through informal education.
“As a seasoned labour leader, I can speak authoritatively that Brian’s case is not unique. I know of many great engineers, accountants, teachers, IT experts, cybersecurity experts, social workers, creatives, footballers, farmers, immigrants, plumbers, carpenters, and paramedics who are specialists in their areas of interest yet without any paper to show their qualifications,” he stated.
Atwoli added: “COTU (K) calls upon the government of Kenya to take this opportunity to actualize Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Kenya. RPL is a proven mechanism for recognizing the diverse learning pathways of our citizens and for harnessing the untapped talents that can drive our nation forward. “
The remarks by COTU follow similar pronouncements by the Kenya Universities Students’ Organization (KUSO) which has since claimed that Mwenda is a second-year student at Chuka University pursuing a Criminology course.
KUSO said: “It’s unfortunate that LSK denounced & publicly distanced themselves from BRIAN MWENDA NJAGI aka ‘Mike Ross’ despite him raising the bar high for the Law Profession, fake or not. KUSO has established, allegedly, that he is a Second Year COMRADE from Chuka University Pursuing Criminology.”
“He is a true testimony of what hustling means. If your degree or course doesn’t make ends meet, it’s time to change goalposts.”
The LSK on Friday while calling for the DCI to launch a probe into the incidents revealed how Mwenda strategically breached the LSK security and stole the identity of an actual lawyer.
“We have invited the DCI to send their investigators to launch a massive manhunt and the immediate arrest of the masquerader, (Brian Mwenda) and all his accomplices. The Council of the Law Society recognizes that masqueraders pose a serious threat to the practice of law and is determined to take decisive action to deal with this issue, ” LSK said.