Friday, November 7, 2014

Willy Munyoki Mutunga-Chief Justice of Kenya and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya

Willy Munyoki Mutunga is a Kenyan lawyer, intellectual, reform activist, and, since June 2011, the Chief Justice of Kenya and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya.
Mutunga's father, Mzee Mutunga Mbiti, worked as a tailor in the small town of Kilonzo. He died in 1985. His mother, Mbesa Mutunga, died in 1982.
Mutunga attended Ithookwe Primary School before proceeding to Kitui School for his Kenya Certificate of Education exams. He was the 1st student to score 6 points in the exams (an "A" in all subjects), earning him a place at the Strathmore College for his "A" levels. Mutunga received a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Nairobi in the 1970s and a Master of Laws from the University of Dar es Salaam. Mutunga joined the law faculty at the University of Nairobi as a lecturer, becoming the 1st indigenous Kenyan to teach constitutional law at the university level. In the late 1980s, he received his Doctorate of Laws from the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.
On 13 May 2011, the Judicial Service Commission of Kenya recommended to President Mwai Kibaki that he appoint Mutunga to be chief justice of Kenya. After consulting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Kibaki appointed Mutunga, and the National Assembly approved the appointment on 15 June 2011. He was sworn into office on 20 June 2011. Because of Kenya's mandatory retirement age of 70, Mutunga must leave office no later than 16 June 2017.                                                       More than two decades of writings, particularly in the media, reveal that Mutunga's activism was inspired by several nationalists. Among these were the anti-colonial fighter Dedan Kimathi, Kenyan activist Pio Gama Pinto, and Guinea Bissau's intellectual nationalist Amílcar Cabral. As a law lecturer at the University of Nairobi in the 1970s and 1980s, Mutunga's activism was associated with a small but determined group of academics who identified with Marxist / Socialist ideologies, including Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Al-Amin Mazrui, Kamonji Wachira, and Maina wa Kinyatti. On 19 April 1972, this group formed the University Staff Union (USU).                   

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