HKUEMS :: Event Details

Elections in Africa: Politics, Economy, Ethnicity
posted by Faculty of Law for HKU and Public
Event Type: Public Lecture/Forum/Seminar/Workshop/Conference/Symposium
Event Nature: Law and Politics

Event Details

The University of Hong Kong
Faculty of Law

Elections in Africa: Politics, Economy, Ethnicity

Yash Ghai, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong
Jill Cottrell, Professor Emerita, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong

7 December 2017 (Thursday), 12:00-1:00 pm, Room 723, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, the University of Hong Kong

About the Event :
Last month, the Kenyan Supreme Court affirmed the re-run of the presidential election that returned the incumbent, Kenyatta, as winner. This was following its annulment of the initial election held in August, and the withdrawal of the opposition leader, Odinga, from the re-run, developments that have ignited violent political and tribal clashes. In this talk, Yash Ghai and Jill Cottrell will comment on this recent election crisis. Although the focus will be on Kenya, its experience is not dissimilar to that of other African states. Many factors go into elections, which throw light on the political, social, economic and ethnic circumstances of these countries, as well as the power and limits of the law in securing justice.

Biographies of speakers:
Yash Ghai has for most of his working life been a law academic and a consultant on constitution making. He was educated at Oxford and Harvard and called to the Bar by the Middle Temple. He was one of the founders of the first Faculty of Law for five central African countries, at Dar es Salaam. Subsequently he taught, in a substantive or visiting capacity, at Yale, Harvard, Wisconsin, Uppsala, London, Warwick and Hong Kong. At Hong Kong he held the first Sir YK Pao Professorship. His research covers a wide range of subjects, from customary law in East Africa, to constitutional law in Hong Kong and South Pacific states. He has a lifelong interest in problems of multi-ethnic societies. He has participated in the making of constitutions in over 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Fiji, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and his own country, Kenya. He has also been UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cambodia on human rights. Currently he is a founder and director of an NGO in Kenya, Katiba Institute, to promote the implementation of its 2010 Constitution. From 3rd to 7th December 2017, he will be visiting the University of Hong Kong as Cheng Chan Lan Yue Distinguished Visiting Fellow.

Jill Cottrell was educated at the London School of Economics and Yale University. She has lectured at the Warwick School of Law, the University of Hong Kong, Ahmadu Bello University Nigeria and the University of Ife in Nigeria. She has worked on constitutional projects in Sri Lanka, East Timor, Nepal, Somalia, South Africa and Iraq, and played a key role in the elaboration of the Kenya constitution. Jill Cottrell is the author of numerous articles, conference papers and books related to constitution-making, human rights, sovereignty, and democracy.

For inquiries, please email Coria Cheng at

Date/Time07/12/2017 12:00-13:00
VenueRoom 7.23, 7th Floor, Cheng Yu Tung Tower, Centennial Campus, The University of Hong Kong

Registration Instruction

Registration is open from 30/11/2017 15:30(HKT) to 07/12/2017 11:00(HKT) on a first-come-first-served basis. The registration quota for this event is 45. Registrants will be placed on a waiting list if the registration quota is reached.

* Registration is now closed.

Contact Information

Should you have any enquiries, please feel free to contact Coria Cheng by email at