Where Are Our Graduates?


#WhereAreOurGraduates is a special series that spotlights the training programme’s alumni and the work that they do post graduation. This answers some of the key questions we often receive such as whether the programme alumni have maintained an active career in social justice, what their successes and challenges have been and their prospects. Ultimately this informs us on whether we are on track to building a new cadre of public interest litigants and experts in the region.

To start us off, we feature Maina Nyabuti, Cohort 2 Alumni.

Maina’s journey during the training programme was a memorable one. He relentlessly pursued to the end a project that challenged the constitutionality of section 73(2)(a) of the Marriage Act of Kenya that bars petitions for annulment outside one year of marriage (High Court Petition №21 of 2021). The arguments before the Court were founded on the provision being against the spouses’ free will, choice and autonomy in marriage. The Court ruled in favour of these arguments and invalidated the troublesome section. The Attorney General has since then recommended to Parliament to effect the changes in the Marriage Act, a process that is still ongoing. In Maina’s view, the decision has also influenced the latest attempt to make divorce non-contentious, a proposal which is currently on the floor of the House for debate.

As the overall best performer in his cohort, Maina’s quest for excellence in all that he does continued even post the training programme. He further worked with the Kaptere Community that had suffered injustice, as the ownership of their land and secondary school was clandestinely transferred to the Catholic Diocese of Nakuru by the local government. He worked with the community to pursue justice through the High Court challenging the illegal transfer of land in contravention of the law. The case (Petition No 04 of 2023) is still pending in Court for directions. He has also worked with fellow alumni Clinton Nyamongo, to challenge the Kenyan government’s directive to close refugee camps. This case (Petition No E123 of 2021) is also pending judgment.

Maina has since left private practice to join public service as a Prosecution Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in Kenya. His duties include conducting criminal prosecutions and defending the victims’ interests during prosecutions. In this position, Maina still applies the knowledge acquired during the training programme. Guided by the DPP’s constitutional mandate to safeguard public interest, Maina has handled three constitutional litigations, whose outcomes have delineated the constitutional mandate of the DPP office, and protected the interests of victims.

I consider strengthening the constitutional institutions through litigation as a public interest issue. I am also able to defend victims of crime from human rights perspectives and at the same time respect the constitutional rights of the accused persons.

Maina continues to be a student, soaking up knowledge to further his professional development. He is currently enrolled for a Masters Degree in Human rights (Sexual and Reproductive Rights in Africa) on a scholarship award. He believes the articles he wrote as part of his advocacy work during the training programme may have contributed to him being granted the scholarship.

And so the journey continues!

We wish Maina the very best of luck, as he continues to prove that protecting the interests of the public can be done in a myriad of ways. Where there is a will, there is a way.



East Africa Public Interest Advocates Programme

Training the next cadre of Public Interest Advocates across the East African region. Briefly put — lawyering for the greater good!