Okiya Omtatah Wins Prestigious Award

  • Okiya Omtata in a court appearance on June 3, 2019.
    Okiya Omtata in a court appearance on June 3, 2019.
    File
  • Renowned activist Okiya Omtatah won a prestigious award in Nairobi, on Saturday, December 19. Omtatah was recognised for his efforts in fighting for human rights to better the society. 

    Raphael Obonyo, of the Foundation Award, presented the 2020 Heroes Award to Omtatah at a private ceremony. 

    The foundation awards selfless individuals annually. 

    Obonyo, a United Nations Advisor and Youth Congress leader said that the special award was for individuals who sacrifice and give hope to others. 

    Human Rights Activist Okiya Omtatah during a past court session.
    Human Rights Activist Okiya Omtatah during a past court session.

    He added that Okiya Omtatah has constantly championed for human rights and social justice.

    "Omtatah’s courage and selfless fight for human rights is something we can all learn from and emulate," he lauded. 

    While receiving the award, the activist said that it motivated him to soldier on and not to allow his character to be compromised. 

    "Thank you for this rare honour, to receive this recognition is a great inspiration. I’m incredibly grateful.

    "Living to me means service to humanity. I don’t think you need to amass wealth, all you need to do is live a simple life, have character and serve the best way that you can," he said. 

    Omtatah has won several cases in court and was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya and the Working Group on Human Defenders.

    In March 2020, the human rights activist filed an appeal before the Judicial Service Commission to have outgoing Chief Justice David Maraga probed and subsequently ejected over allegations of gross misconduct.

    He accused Maraga of interfering with the independence of a judge in a case he had filed opposing government's move to re-advertise the position of the auditor general.

    In June, he managed to convince a three-judge bench consisting of Justices Martha Koome (presiding), Gatembu Kairu and Jamila Mohammed that Kenya Railways had indeed failed to comply with procurement laws.

    The Court of Appeal declared the entire Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) contract illegal.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off SGR Phase 2A at the Nairobi Terminus on Wednesday, October 16, 2019
    President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off SGR Phase 2A at the Nairobi Terminus on Wednesday, October 16, 2019
    PSCU