- Burkina Faso
- Central African Republic
- Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- South Sudan
In 1999 a group of Lawyers from Africa met in the United States and started a network which at the time was called African Christian Lawyers Network (ACLN). By 2005 the network had grown with contacts in over 35 countries in Africa. In the same year at a conference in Johannesburg, South Africa ACLN changed its name to Advocates Africa electing its first Board and adopting a constitution.
Advocates Africa has grown to a 43 country strong network of Christian lawyers, advocates, judicial officers and law students organized into national associations.
With the financial assistance from Advocates International, members of Advocates Africa have positively and effectively influenced the destiny of the nations of Africa through constructive programs that mobilize and empower civil society. They have engaged with people at grass-roots level to provide legal education and training on issues of democracy, human rights, good governance, rule of law etc., while at the same time participating in developing and influencing political and legal systems in both the public and private sectors.
Board of Directors
Chairperson: Sunday Akanni (Nigeria)
Deputy Chair: Justice Mike Chibita (Uganda)
Secretary General: Teresa Conradie (South Africa)
Treasurer: Jean-Alain Kasonga (DRC)
RC-West Africa: Kwame Nkrumah Botsio (Ghana)
RC-Central Africa: Safari Gahizi (Rwanda)
RC-East Africa: Judy Kalinga (Kenya)
RC-Southern Africa: Mateus Mosse (Mozambique)
August 16-20, 2017: AA was honored to have as keynote speaker Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for its 12th Biennial Convocation, “Awake, Awake, (Africa), and Put on Your Strength and Your Beautiful Garments (Isaiah 52:1).” Read more about it on AI’s October 2017 Newsletter and this 2017 news article.
Advocates Africa first made contact with a Christian lawyer in early 2007. Today Christian lawyers, Armando Palanga and Maria Lucia Da Silveira are AA’s national leaders for Angola.
Agathe Affougnon and Euloge Akpo are AA’s national leaders for Benin. Agathe coordinates the Christian Lawyers Association of Benin (“Association des Juristes Chrétiens du Bénin – AJCB”). Their members have been meeting together since about 2003. They have attended various Advocates Africa and Advocates International conferences since 2002.
Their principle activities are to help the church leaders and other brothers and sisters in Christ to understand a bit about the law, and to bring the Gospel into the judicial setting.
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the Government generally respected this right in practice. In 1992 the then President declared Voodoo to be an official religion in Benin and it was declared that 10 January is to be a public holiday each year, to celebrate Voodoo. This has given an official force to Voodoo. It has been a big obstacle to advancement of the Gospel in this country.
Edward F. Luke II leads the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Botswana (CLASFOB), which was launched in February 2004. He reports one of the greatest needs facing believers in his nation is witch craft that often has hold on believers. He asks for prayer.
Our main contacts in Burkina Faso are Paul Dipama and Dieudonne Bonkoungou. Christian lawyers from Burkina Faso have participated in several regional and global convocations since 2000.
Burkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa. It shares borders with six countries – Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali and Niger. Located partly in the Sahel belt, most of the country is arid. Originally known as Upper Volta until its name change in 1983, was a French colony, part of French West Africa. It gained its independence from France in August 1960. There are many reported human rights concerns in the country.
Advocates Burundi “Voice of the Voiceless” (“Advocates Burundi Voix des Sans Voix”) was created in 2001 and led by Longin Baranyizigiye and Jonathan Nahimana. It was formerly registered with the authorities in Burundi on 26 December 2007. Currently, Advocates Vianney Niyonkuru is AA’s lead for Burundi.
Justice Rose Mbah Acha leads Advocates Cameroon. Main fellowship activities include legal aid and anti-corruption campaigns.
Central African Republic
Advocate Moussa Yves is AA’s national leader. Christian lawyers from the Central African Republic have participated in several regional and global convocations since 2000.
In 2007, the Secretary General of the Evangelical Alliance in Chad, Rev. Bako attended AA’s conference in Kenya and, on his return, was able to mobilise Christian lawyers in Chad. Currently, AA’s national leader in Chad is Diane Poufinet.
Cote d’Ivoire is situated on the West Coast of Africa and borders Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and Ghana.
Threatened by political instability, the Christian lawyers in Ivory Coast have come together to advocate for human rights, peace and good governance. Advocates Cote D’Ivoire seeks to organize legal and biblical training for law professionals, law students and police focusing on ways to empower the body of Christ to be salt and light. Current AA national leader is Josue Tchimou.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Jean-Alain Kasonga presently coordinates the Christian lawyer group in DRC. CLF/DRC had the largest contingent of magistrates and judges at the 2005 Advocates Africa conference.
AI first established contact with a lawyer in Egypt through its Middle East network. AI’s Africa Liaison later met with the Egyptian Christian lawyer at the Advocates Asia conference in India in November 2006. In July 2007, the AI Liaison made further contacts, and in September 2007 the first representative from Egypt attended the AA conference.
As AA’s lead for Eritrea, Selam Kidane began building up a base for the Christian Lawyer Fellowship. He was involved in exposing violence against the church and the lack of religious freedom in Eritrea. Currently, Tedla Aradom is AA’s national leader.
Advocates Tibetu Gashu and Nardos Lemma began coordination of the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Ethiopia with about 60 lawyers in the capital city of Addis Ababa. They hosted the 8th Advocates Africa conference. Current AA lead is Nigatu Tadesse.
Ethiopia which is twice the size of France, shares borders with Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan, is landlocked; is the Capital of Africa as it is home to the African Union Headquarters.
Advocates Africa made contact with a Christian Senior Magistrate and a missionary in Gabon in 2006. The AI Liaison visited Gabon in October 2007 and met with magistrates and lawyers encouraging them to start an organization. Gabon is one of Africa’s French-speaking countries with a small population more than half of which are below the age of 21.
Gabon sits on the Equator in western Africa bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, and the Republic of Congo making it difficult and expensive to travel to. About 85% of the country is covered with rainforest. Gabon is one of the most mineral rich countries in Africa and holds a record as one country in Africa with the longest serving President (President Omar Bongo ruled the country from 1967 till his death in 2008). AA’s local advocates are Moutou David and Sala Watoma R. David.
The Gambia is a small country in West Africa. It is, in fact, the smallest country on mainland Africa. Apart from a small Atlantic seaboard, it is entirely surrounded by Senegal.
AI’s Liaison visited Gambia in May of 2007 and met with several lawyers and judges who were engaged in providing free legal aid for those in prison awaiting trial. The outcome of this visit was that the Gambia was represented for the first time at the AA conference in Kenya 2007.
Our main contacts in the Gambia are Joseph Gomez and Tracy Davies-Wilson. The first faculty of law was established in 2006.
The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Ghana is led by Advocate Nketiah Yaw. The main chapter is located in the capital of Accra, but there are members scattered throughout the country. There is a student chapter located in Accra as well. Fellowship activities include prayer meetings, workshops, Bible studies, and outreaches. The 2017 AA regional conference took place in Accra.
A group of Christian lawyers have come together to start meetings and fellowship in this relatively small French-speaking West African country. Frédéric Loua Foromo, one of our main contacts in the country attended the 2008 AI Global convocation, the first time Guinea was represented in any AI sponsored gathering.
The fellowship, Advocates Guinea (Association of Guinean Christian Lawyers) [“Advocates Guinée (Association des Juristes Chrétiens de Guinée”)] was formed in May 2008.
The fellowship meets together to promote friendship between its different members. It aims to promote human rights in Guinea; to contribute towards training citizens in their rights and duties on every level; to consolidate peace and stability in Guinea; to bring aid to those in prison in Guinea; and to promote the Scriptures as a code of conduct.
AI’s legal association in Kenya is the Kenyan Christian Lawyers Fellowship (KCLF). There are KCLF chapters throughout the country. The main fellowship activities vary from chapter to chapter, but focus is on Bible studies, fellowship, and prayer meetings.
KCLF became the first among AA’s network to launch a mediation center. AA’s national leaders are Nelson Ashitiva and Joyce Kabaki.
At first, several attempts were made to establish a lawyer network as these were met with challenges of communication infrastructure. Today advocates Tsabo Matooni and Sue Merriman are AA’s leads in Lesotho.
Liberia was established as an independent state by freed slaves from America in 1847. For more than 130 years from its founding, politics were dominated by the small minority of the population descended from these original settlers, known as the Americo-Liberians while the indigenous groups where left out. This minority rule could be said to be one of the causes of the civil war which tore the country apart for my years.
Since 1999 AI had developed contacts in Liberia. In 2004, Othello Payman and some lawyers got together to start the Liberian Christian lawyers Network (LCLN). The fellowship did not last long due to many reasons including the instability and insecurity caused by the civil war in the country.
AI’s Liaison visited Liberia in early 2007 to encourage the members and to share the AI and AA vision.
Presently, the Christian Lawyers in Liberia is led by Judge James Jones. The fellowship’s members are currently involved in resolving disputes and providing legal aid to the less privileged. The Fellowship is also building a strong student fellowship to further strengthen their presence in the country. AA’s current national leaders are both Othello Payman and Judge James Jones.
AI has had several contacts with lawyers and judges in Malawi. In 2006, AI liaison visited the country to speak to several key people including the solicitor- general, judges, the director of the human rights commission and several other state counsels and prosecutors.
Despite the desire by Christian lawyers in Malawi to organize themselves as a group, most of their members are mostly outside the country on assignments or on study programs.
Christian Lawyers are very active in the private and public sectors, promoting human rights, assisting the church and missionaries with their various legal needs. Current advocate in Malawi is Pacharo Kayila.
AA’s main contact and national leader in Mali is Yaya Daou.
Associação Moçambicana dos Advogados Cristãos (AMAC) or Mozambican Association of Christian Lawyers, was established in October 2012 as a registered non-governmental and not-for-profit organization with the objective to promote access to justice for the poor and needy through social programs and projects in the areas of legal assistance, legal aid, legal representation, legal education and research, adopting and practicing Christian principles for social benefit. They were officially recognized by the government in March 2013. Isaiah 1:17 is AMAC’s chosen Bible verse: “Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” AA’s national leader in Mozambique is Mateus Mosse.
AA’s key Namibian contact, Masiza Shakespeare, in conjunction with the CLA, South Africa (CLASA) and Advocates Africa, hosted a breakfast meeting in July 2006 in Windhoek, Namibia, to introduce the AI and AA networks to the Namibian lawyers. Teresa Conradie (now Secretary General of Advocates Africa) was the keynote speaker at the breakfast. Accompanying her to Namibia were Denise Woods (Past CLASA Executive Director) and Bayo Akinlade (Past AI Liaison to Africa). Currently, Masiza Shakespeare and K.B. Ngutjinazo are AA’s national leaders in Namibia.
A Christian lawyer group was established in the Republic of Niger after a visit from the Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON).
They are often asked to provide training on questions of human rights by way of seminars, or to give their advice on certain legal situations that the church is facing. One example occurred in October 2008, when they met with the Alliance of Missions and Churches in Niger to propose solutions to a problem of a violation of the right to worship, in a place not far from Niamey. The local authorities in that place had decided not to allow the planting of a church in that town. They chased the pastor out of the town and threatened the brother who had been housing him. The Christian lawyers were able to intervene, to bring calm to a potentially explosive situation. Current advocate in Niger is Issaka Moussa.
The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) is the oldest Christian lawyer fellowship in Africa, having been formed in 1979.
CLASFON has played a major role in helping define church/state relationships, promoting Christian mediation as an alternative dispute mechanism and addressing issues that affect the public and government. Current AA national leader for Nigeria is Arome M. Okwori.
The Network of Lawyers of Hope in Rwanda is an association of Christian lawyers which was founded in 2006. The organisation seeks to reach out to the most vulnerable members of the society, in particular vulnerable children, prisoners and other needy people; to seek justice on their behalf; and to share with them Christ’s love and compassion.
In 2009, Lawyers of Hope Rwanda participated in Rwanda’s first legal aid week. Their lawyers delivered legal advice and assistance to over 400 prisoners and subsequently developed a funding proposal to work in 2 local prisons. Their proposal was approved.
Rwanda is now at peace, reconciliation continues and we thank God for all He is doing. Christians enjoy freedom of worship and expression. Current AA national leader is Safari Gahizi.
Advocates Senegal was established on 23 October 2007 and legally registered as an association on 20 September 2008. It is led by Joseph Nassakou.
Advocates Senegal is particularly active in the area of the protection and defence of children’s rights. They work with the many street children in Dakar, and carry out activities to make the population aware of their rights to life, education and health. They also carry out reconciliation work between street children and their parents.
In the area of religious freedom, Advocates Senegal has intervened in the past when 10 churches were threatened, by the local authorities, with closure. Other areas in which the fellowship has been active include resolving conflicts between employees and their employers; helping 17 missionaries to obtain visas to stay in Senegal; helping to open 2 Christian hospitals in Dakar and helping Christian organisations with the legal aspects of purchasing land in Senegal and acquiring the proper land titles.
Situated in West Africa and ravaged by many years of civil war; the recently established Advocates Sierra Leone (ASL) seeks to heal wounds, promote justice and protect human rights. Current advocate is Ibrahim Koroma.
AA’s current national leaders for South Africa are Teresa Conradie, Global Council Chairperson and Secretary General of AA and Maryna Joubert.
AA’s national leader and contact for South Sudan is Benjamin Sogora.
AA’s national leader and contact for Sudan is Mary James Ajith.
AA’s national leader and contact for Swaziland is B.A. Dube.
AA’s national leader and contact for Tanzania is John Osapiri.
The Association of Togolese Christian Lawyers (“L’Association des Juristes Chrétiens du Togo”) was established in December 2007, and received legal recognition by the Togolese authorities on 26 August 2009. Christian lawyers from Togo have participated in several regional and global convocations since 1998.
The AI Liaison visited Togo in early 2007 and established contact with a dynamic young Christian law student who took the vision, organised the fellowship and obtained legal recognition. Current advocate for Togo is Zacharie Wilson-Adjete.
AA’s national leader and contact is Dr. Daniel Ruhweza.
AA’s national leader and contact is Stephen Lungu.
AA’s national leader and contact is Yussuf Sulieman.
AA’s national leader and contact is Ashton Debwe.