Dr. Willy Munyoki Mutunga is a Kenyan lawyer, intellectual, reform activist, and the Commonwealth Special Envoy to the Maldives. His appointment to the Commonwealth was to bring the political leadership together, and to aid in the process of constitutional and political transition, with an overriding mandate of supporting a sustainable political dialogue process leading to a stronger climate of pluralism and inclusive elections, and to encourage the strengthening of democratic institutions and culture in Maldives.
He is also an active member of the Justice Leadership Group. He is the retired Chief Justice of Kenya and President of the Supreme Court of Kenya. During his reign as the Chief Justice, he spearheaded judicial reforms that came about after the promulgation of the new constitution. Dr. Mutunga led in the quest for a new constitution during the Moi era.
Dr. Mutunga was in exile in Canada after his release on 20 October 1983, while in exile, He partnered with Hon. Kiraitu Murungi, Mr. Maina Kiai and Prof. Makau Mutua and to launch the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) to further the struggle for socio-economic justice and a democratic constitutional order.
Dr. Mutunga became the Chairman of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC), which he also served as the Executive Director. He was instrumental in the development of the first draft of the Kenya Constitution and further led the Citizens’ Coalition for Constitutional Change (or 4Cs). He later became a senior manager at the Ford Foundation and a champion for the rights of Gay and Lesbian communities, a position that spiked controversy with the churches of Kenya.
He served on the boards of the Buffalo Human Rights Center at the University at Buffalo Law School, the State University of New York, and served as Vice-Chairman of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) from 1991 to 1993 and Chairman from 1993 to 1995.
Dr. Mutunga holds a Bachelors of Laws degree from the University of Dar Es Salaam and a Master of Laws from the University of Dar es Salaam. Dr. Mutunga joined the law faculty at the University of Nairobi as a lecturer, becoming the first indigenous Kenyan to teach constitutional law at the university. In the late 1980s, he received his Doctorate of Law from the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.