Mahat Somane was a little known lawyer by the general public until the victory of President-elect William Ruto was disputed by his closest rival Raila Odinga. The opposition chief and his deputy Martha Karua claimed that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had not conducted a free, fair and verifiable election. IEBC assembled a team of lawyers to deconstructs the evidence brought by the Azimio team.
Mahat Somane with his ‘Get over it, it’s over!’ stood out. Here is his story by WoK.
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Mahat Somane was born and raised in Garissa county. He was born in a polygamous family, and growing up in a family of 10 siblings he knew that education was the only way out of a community that remains marginalised.
After his O-levels, he attended the University of Nairobi where he pursued a Bachelor of Law before joining the Kenya School of Law where he successfully graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Law in 2007. He joined the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School where he pursued a Master’s Degree in Public Policy. He graduated with a second Master’s degree in Law specializing in Corporate Law and Governance from the Harvard Law School in 2011. While at the university, he participated in various leadership activities including being the Vice President of the Harvard University Social Enterprise in Action and Panel Manager at Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Conference.
After completing his studies, Mahat, while aged 28 years old, co-founded Garane & Somane Advocates – a law firm that seeks to support start-up companies and businesses in navigating legal hurdles. Since its inception, over 30 startups have benefited from his pro bono services. Apart from helping startups, the law firm also helps vulnerable individuals by offering free representation in the court to ensure that they get justice. He also participates in charity activities by helping poor households in Garissa access low-cost and energy-efficient solar power at no cost. Away from the legal career and charity activities, Mahat is a lecturer in different universities including Harvard University. He also sits in the Public-Private Partnership Committee and was appointed to the Tax Appeals Tribunal to help the court clear its backlog.
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Mahat Somane first appeared at the Supreme Court in the 2017 presidential petition between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga where he was representing the IEBC. The Supreme Court led at the time by Chief Justice David Maraga nullified the elections and ordered a re-run. In the 2022 general elections, he represented IEBC once again. Mahat dismissed the allegations that the IEBC portal was hacked and brought to light the fraudulent affidavits of one John Githongo. He urged the petitioners to concede defeat by using the famous phrase ‘Get over it, it is over.’ Raila led Azimio were not lucky this time round after the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Martha Koome upheld the results announced by the IEBC.
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