Willy Mutunga, a Lifelong Activist (Marie WOLFROM)

Willy Mutunga today, as the President of the Supreme Court of Kenya @ Bobby Pal


Since Kenya’s independence in 1963, generations of activists have followed upon each other. Willy Mutunga is a member of the first generation – together with Paul Muite or Yash Pal Ghai – who fought relentlessly against arbitrary arrests and for multi-partyism and the respect of Human Rights and constitutional reform. Although a discrete man, he often played a key role in these struggles.

Like many Kenyan activists, Willy Mutunga is a lawyer by training. In the 1970s, he was admitted at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) in Tanzania where he met the committed professors and political activists who shaped his journey. In the early 1980s, at the climax of Daniel arap Moi’s repression, his activist activities led him to prison for more than one year. After defying the system for a long time, he decided to join it with the hope he could contribute to reforming it from within by becoming Chief Justice in 2011. In this capacity, he became an arbitrator in the contested presidential election of 2013.

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