Makau Mutua Biography and Profile

Prof Makau Mutua was born in 1958. He is a Kenyan-American profesor of Law. In 2003, he was appointed by Kenya’s President Kibaki to chair a task force that eventually led to the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in 2008.

Makau Mutua Education Background

He earned a Masters in Law at the University of Dar es Salaam, ultimately attending Harvard Law School in 1984. There he earned an LLM in 1985 and an SJD in 1987.

1996: Student at the University at Buffalo Law School faculty.

1992: Undergraduate student at the University of Nairobi

Secondary school student at Alliance High School

Secondary school student at Kitui High School.

Makau Mutua Career

In 2003, he was appointed by Kenya’s President Kibaki to chair a task force that eventually led to the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in 2008.

In May 2010, he became a member of the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity, the first Greek-letter society founded by African-American men in the United States.

In April 2011, he was appointed to a three-year term by Governor Andrew Cuomo to the New York State Judicial Screening Committee for the Fourth Department.

In March 2012, he was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to a three-year term to the board of directors of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation.

Prof Makau Mutua was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York to the Moreland commission to Investigate Public Corruption in July 2013. In that role, was appointed – as did all the other commissioners – to the rank of Deputy Attorney General by New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman.

Prof Makau Mutua is a prominent thinker of the movement known as Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), a critical and reconstructionist approach to international law. He sits on the board of directors of Global Rights, and has consulted extensively for NGOs, United Nations agencies, and governments. He lectures frequently on human rights, international law, and African politics around the world. In both 2012 and 2013, Mutua was named by On Being A Black Lawyer (OBABL) among the Power 100: The Most Influential Black Lawyers in the United States.

Prof Makau Mutua – SUNY Distinguished Professor at Buffalo Law School,

Makau Mutua is a SUNY Distinguished Professor and the Floyd H. and Hilda L. Hurst Faculty Scholar at SUNY Buffalo Law School, where he served as dean for seven years, 2008-2014. He teaches international human rights, international business transactions and international law. He was educated at the University of Nairobi, the University of Dar-es-Salaam and Harvard Law School. Mutua is a vice president of the American Society of International Law and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2002-03, while on sabbatical in Kenya, Mutua chaired the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission, which recommended a truth commission for Kenya. He also was a delegate to the National Constitutional Conference, which produced a contested draft constitution for Kenya.

Awards and Honors

  • Distinguished Africanist Award, New York African Studies Association, 40th Annual Conference, Union College/Albany Law School, New York, April 4, 2015.
  • Education Award, City of Buffalo [Mayor Byron W. Brown], Black History Month [Civil Rights in America: 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act], February 11, 2014.
  • Business First Power 250 [250 Most Influential People in Western New York], Buffalo Business First, Ranked at No. 91, February 6, 2014.
  • 2014 Lawyers of Color Third Annual Power List, February 2014.
  • Named to 2103 Business First Western New York Legal Elite, Buffalo Business First, September 2013.
  • Top 100 Most Influential People in Kenya [ranked at 78]
  • Business First Power 200 [200 Most Influential People in Western New York], Buffalo Business First, February 8, 2013
  • Mwongozi (Leadership) Award, Kenya National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, December 15, 2012, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Named to the 2012, 2013 100 Most Influential Black Lawyers in the Nation, The Power 100 Special Edition, On Being a Black Lawyer (OBABL)
  • Member, SUNY Distinguished Academy [founded in 2012]
  • 2010 Who Is Who in Law, Buffalo Business First and Buffalo Law Journal
  • Trailblazer Award, Rochester Black Bar Association, October 9, 2009, Rochester, New York
  • SADOO Enterprises, Inc., African Schools Project, Distinguished Citizen Award, October 19, 2008, Buffalo, New York
  • Mayor, City of Buffalo, Executive Chamber Proclamation – October 19, 2008 declared Dean Makau Mutua Day, October 19, 2008, Buffalo, New York.
  • President’s Award, Minority Bar Association of Western New York, September 18, 2008, Buffalo, New York.
  • Mayor, City of Buffalo, Executive Chamber Proclamation – September 9, 2008 declared Makau W. Mutua Day, September 9, 2008, Buffalo, New York.
  • Minority Bar Association of Western New York, Welcome Award, September 9, 2008.
  • The 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award [For Outstanding Service to the University and the Community by a Non-Alumnus], University at Buffalo Law Alumni Association, May 1, 2008.
  • Bashorun M. K. O. Abiola Lecture Award, African Studies Association, 50th Anniversary Annual Meeting, New York, New York, October 2007.
  • 2007 Faculty Award [Outstanding Teacher Award], SUNY Buffalo Law School, May 2007.
    “The Ideology of Human Rights, 36 Va. J. Int’l L. 589 (1996), selected for inclusion in Special Issue: Forty Years of Scholarship: Excerpts From Articles in the Virginia Journal of International Law that Charted New Paths and Captured Historic Moments, 40 Va. J. Int’l L. 849, 949-951 (2000).
  • Prominent Refugee, Gallery of Prominent Refugees, 50th of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees [named among 100 others as a Prominent Refugee]
  • Marshall, SUNY-Buffalo Law School Commencement, 2002, 2001. Elected by Students to be Faculty Commencement Speaker (“Why Law School?”), SUNY-Buffalo Law School Commencement, 1999.
  • Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Faculty Award, SUNY Buffalo, February 1998. 7 Jacob D. Hyman Award, SUNY Buffalo Law School, April 1998.


Prof Makau Mutua Books

Prof Makau Mutua is the author of several books, including Kenya’s Quest for Democracy: Taming Leviathan (2008), Human Rights NGOs in East Africa: Political and Normative Tensions (2008) and Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique (2002). He has written numerous scholarly articles as well as dozens of articles for popular publications such as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Chronicle of Higher Education and the Washington Post. He has conducted numerous human rights, diplomatic and rule of law missions to countries in Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Makau Mutua Family, Wife and Children

Prof Makau Mutua is married to Prof Athena Mutua since 1986. From 2002, she has taught law at SUNY Buffalo Law School where he also teach. Athena is from Baltimore, Maryland. They have three sons; Lumumba , Amani  and Mwalimu who are in college in the United States and two daughters; Mueni, who is a lawyer in Dar es Salaam and Jueria Abdul, an aspiring journalist in Mombasa. Both are married.

Prof Makau Mutua Video

Prof Makau Mutua News

I have no problem working with Uhuru, Makau Mutua tells JSC

Updated: 14.9.2016

Professor Makau Mutua has defended a tweet he wrote in 2013 saying he will have no problem working with President Uhuru Kenyatta if appointed Chief Justice.

The tweet read: “As a matter of my freedom of conscience and thought, I can’t accept Uhuru Kenyatta as President of Kenya. I can’t and won’t.”

He told the Judicial Service Commission panel on Wednesday that the tweet was his personal view as a citizen.

“I never said Uhuru is not fit to serve. I dissented with the Supreme Court decision. My view was that ICC suspects should not offer themselves to vie for office,” he said.

Mutua was also quick to add that “Uhuru is a likable guy but people should be free to state what is on their mind.”

He said as CJ, there will be a difference between ‘citizen Makau Mutua’, who has a right to dissent, and “Chief Justice Makau Mutua”.

“I regard the CJ’s job as one to lead, inspire, provide vision for the Judiciary. I don’t regard the CJ’s job as that of a legal mechanic, I regard it as that of a judicial leader.

Mutua further noted that his interest as a lawyer has not been courtroom experience but the relationship between the state and the individual.

“We teach and train our students as lawyers to perform many functions in society. Knowledge is not mechanical and I am very proud of my legal experience,” he said.

The professor became a subject of interest following the rejection of his application for the CJ position despite a bulky 85-page resume.

Most of the document contained academic work- publications, papers, articles, books and seminars. His education background only takes a few paragraphs.

Articles, book chapters and reviews devoured seven pages of the CV while reports and policy documents knocked off two other pages.

Source: The Star

Mutahi Ngunyi opposed to Makau Mutua CJ bid, says law professor may not swear in Uhuru

Updated 08.07.2016

Political analyst Mutahi Ngunyi has told off renowned professor of law Makau Mutua over his application for the position of Chief Justice.

On his official Twitter account, Ngunyi questioned Makau’s credentials to fill the post that fell vacant after the retirement of Willy Mutunga.

“Does Makau have PhD or an equivalent earned in 2 years? A Toyota looking like a Mercedes? If a PhD hit him on the head, he would not recognize it,” one of the tweets read.

Ngunyi said the appointment of Makau would be a tragic political joke as he has already taken political side.

“If made CJ, Mutua Wa Makau could ‘refuse’ to swear Uhuru as President in 2017. He has told us that he does not recognise Uhuru as President so he is not neutral. And his Afro-Pessimism is acidic. We don’t need another activist for CJ,” he said.

Mutua is among the eight applicants who have applied to succeed Mutunga as president of the Supreme Court.

Former speaker Kenneth Marende, Supreme Court Judge Dr Smokin Wanjala, Court of Appeal Judges David Maranga and Alnashir Vishram are some of the applicants.

High Court judges Msagah Mbogholi and Judge Richard Mwongo have also presented their bids for the top post in the judiciary.

Seven applications have been received for the position of DCJ among them from judges Martha Koome, Agnes Murgor and Lydia Achode.

High Court Judge Isaac Lenaola and Moi University Law Faculty Dean John Chebii have applied to be judges of the Supreme Court.

Source: The Star

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