Latest Developments on Legal Capacity in Africa

Legal Capacity Workshop NairobiWorkshop in Nairobi on 11th and 12th June 2014

Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) convened a two-day workshop at the Panafric Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on 11th and 12th June 2014.

An emergent group of over 20 activists and lawyers from Africa, including representatives of Inclusion Africa’s national member organizations from Kenya and Zanzibar participated in the consultation on the latest development on legal capacity in the region.

 Discussions

The discussions centered on strategies for dealing with laws that limit legal capacity drawing examples from Tanzania, Hungary and Kenya. Other discussions explored the right to own and manage property and finances by persons with disabilities in Kenya, the practices Uganda, Zambia and Nigeria with regard to the role of customary law and community leaders in upholding/denying legal capacity. Other topics were: understanding the role of customary law and community leaders in upholding/denying legal capacity; identifying who should be the supporters in a supported decision making model; peer support as a means of advancing supported decision-making; and how change can be created in the legal framework, in the community and in social systems (presentation on lessons learned from pilot initiatives in Zambia and Bulgaria).

Workshop discussion groups discussed the potential points of intervention in each country to advance a reform process, what key strategies from those discussed and others, and what actors to engage.

Task groups were formed in various thematic areas, including self-advocacy, in which Inclusion Africa was selected to take part.

 Next steps

For Kenya, the next steps would be to pilot legal capacity with communities (looking at peer support network in the context of supported decision making in the exercise of legal capacity) and hold national roundtable meetings.

by Shikuku Obosi