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Monday, August 1, 2011

The 20th All African Moot Court Competition.

Every law student’s dream is to be damn good in whatever field of law they choose to pursue. The 20th All African Moot Court Competition was the fore an enormous catalyst in the educational curriculum of the over 700 law students who took part in this competition either directly or indirectly from various universities and colleges in Africa.
Each team comprising of two members; preferably a lass and a lad, were chosen to represent their school after a ‘mini’-moot court competition was conducted within their individual institution based on the same hypothetical case to be argued in Pretoria. This therefore meant that the best counsels were soon on their way to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights which would be sitting in Pretoria-South Africa from the 6th-13th July 2011.
After intense preparations, lots of consultations and all the charms we could get, Lilian and I were ready for action! We had already violated one of the rules by having an all girls team but we were quickly at ease when we to our delight meet another Kenyan Team at the JKIA international airport...and yes they were an all girls team too!!
The sudden shock we had to deal with was the cold!!!Having left the lovely Kenyan sun to subzero temperature meant literally game on!!We soon discovered that many other teams had already arrived and that team members were to be housed as far apart as possible to ensure interaction with other participants. (Translation-no more practice)
Armed with the rules and regulations and a template of the marking scheme to be used, all we now had to do was sleep and wait for D-day to arrive.Suprisingly on the big day most teams looked calm and collected. The excitement of newly found friends, adrenaline and the anxiety of the unknown made a not so lovely cocktail in my stomach.....
For fairness and non-biasness in the allocation of scores, teams were to be identified by a secret number which was picked at a ballot. Teams were subsequently categorised in the language they would use in Court either: Anglophone, Francophone or Lusophone.Hence you only knew the identity of your competitors on arriving court. This made the challenge so much more intriguing....
On each given day during the preliminary rounds, each team had to appear twice a day in a different court -once as the Applicant and the other as the Respondent. Teams could therefore not specialise and were required to be able to represent either the state of Dosmoon or the Environment for life whenever they were requested to do so. Each round cumulated marks that would make up for the overall score. Each judge additionally made comments and gave a score for each counsels and an average was calculated to find the best oralists.
The two best Francophone teams and four best Anglophone teams made it to the finals.Unfortunalely due to the small turn out of Lusophone teams this year, none of those present made it to the finals. The finals were held at the South African Reserve Bank and the five presiding Judges were all commissioners at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The teams at the finals had to overcome many challenges, key among them being the language barrier. All other teams were invited to witness this great mêlée. You would have thought that other participants would have being bored to listen to an argument they had all made reference to for a week, but you could still see and hear the excitement and anticipation.
Winning is nice....it is sometimes also important....but not all teams could have won! The 20th All African Human Rights Moot Court competition was however not only about winning and losing. It gives great satisfaction that Africa celebrated 30 years after the adoption of the African Charter and that African jurisprudence is relaying more and more on the African Charter on Human and People’s rights. It is greatly refreshing that African Law students know about this Charter that is unique to them and it is hoped that they will continue making use of it in their own local and regional courts in the very near future.
We all learnt a lot, had great fun while at it and now have new friends and acquaintances all over Africa. The Respondents graciously took the title home this year........so about Lilian and I you might wonder.....we didn’t make it to the finals. We were ranked tenth overall and we are over the moon with our performance. We thank you all for your great support and encouragement. We wish the best to the 21st Moot Court participants-have a blast in Mozambique!


  1. am glad u had fun and earned the exposure and experience. kudos

  2. Hey Mugambi,you need a medal for the great coaching!Mercyline-asante sana..yeah it was a great learning experience.