Strathmore team wins the All Africa round of the John H Jackson Moot
A Strathmore Law School (SLS) team featuring Kelly Nyaga, Joy Mvatie, Tracey Andere and Kiai Gachanja won the 18th Edition of the John H. Jackson Moot Court Competition All Africa rounds. For being top of the region, the four won a one-week tuition fee waiver for the 2020 or 2021 World Trade Institute Winter or Summer Academy.
In June last year, the team representing Strathmore put the University into the limelight after winning the 17th edition of the John H. Jackson Moot and becoming the first African team to win the John H. Jackson Moot Court (formerly ELSA) on WTO Law by beating Harvard University in the final held in Geneva.
Big shoes to fill
Preparing for the moot against a backdrop of this win required a lot of sacrifices especially in terms of time. The team was well aware of the high bar already set. “Last year’s win inspired pride in the hearts of Stratizens and Kenyans as a whole. While pressure is an inevitable part of any mooting experience, we have big shoes to fill. However, the current team is eager to do what it takes to perform exceptionally well at the global level,” said Tracey.
The team was coached by Harrison Mbori (lecturer, SLS) and Sandra Bucha, and was assisted by Mishael Wambua and Maleehah Khandwallah, both members of last year’s team, as well as Sharon Wakesho and Moses Antony, Graduate Assitant at SLS.
“We would often practice till 8 pm on weekdays and till late afternoon on Saturdays. It was worth it in the end because, apart from winning, we were able to sharpen our research skills and our oral presentation skills. Also, we have been exposed to some of the leading minds in the field of international trade law,” Kiai Gachanja said.
This year’s competition was slightly different as it was played out virtually due to the restrictions on travel brought about by the pandemic. The team had to deal with new challenges: Wi-Fi connection problems, poor image /video quality, the famous power outages that pop up as if on cue and a lack of real time communication with the rest of the team. In the last two rounds of the competition, Kelly fought it out with a generator humming in the background. “We devised a back-up plan to ensure that hitches did not arise during the competition: creating a hotspot for good internet connection, having devices with high-quality cameras and keeping our devices fully charged at all times,” Tracey says.
Adding to the success were two individual wins: Kelly was selected the best oralist in the final round while Joy was named the best oralist in the preliminary rounds. The two previously represented the University at the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) International Arbitration moot in Miami reaching the round of 16, with Joy winning the Manuela Beltran Woman Advocate award for being the best female oralist from the Global South.
“The toughest part of the moot is getting to a dead end while carrying out research in order to improve my arguments; I just can’t seem to overcome it at that moment, but when I finally do I’m quite excited. In the end, one appreciates the fun and novel experiences,” Joy said.
The team now proceeds to the global rounds where they will face the best 20 teams worldwide.
This article was written by Wambui Gachari.
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