Willis Evans Otieno is a Kenyan politician and lawyer who is a senior partner at Otieno Ogola & Company Advocates. He is among the lawyers challenging the win of President-Elect, Dr. William Samoei Ruto at the Supreme Court on account of alleged electoral malpractices.
Otieno made headlines on Wednesday, August 31, 2022, when he decided to use nursery rhymes in his submission at the Supreme Court. This attracted criticism from Justice Smokin Wanjala and a nationwide debate on the lawyer’s performance at the Apex court.
He was also selected by Safina Party leader Jimi Wanjigi as his presidential running mate before they were barred from contesting by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) on grounds of failing to meet the required threshold.
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Here is his story as told by WoK.
Background & Education
Otieno attended Moi University between 2002 and 2007, obtaining a Bachelor of Laws degree. He then proceeded to the Kenya School of Law and graduated with a diploma in law.
Between 2014 and 2016, he attended the University of Nairobi graduating with a Master of Law degree.
Otieno began his career as a Program Officer at the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) Kenya Section where he served between January 2009 and December 2011. Between January 2011 and November 2013, he served as an Elections and democracy expert and Senior Program Officer at the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa.
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The city lawyer was the head of Raila’s Presidential Campaign Secretariat in 2017.
He has served in different professional capacities. He was an adjunct Lecturer at the Kenya School of Law. He also served as a Junior Fellow at the state university of New York.
He has also served as a Program Officer at Transparency International.
Since January 2013 to date, he has been the Principal Partner in charge of litigation, governance, public law, elections, constitutional and administrative law, and political processes at Otieno Ogola & Company Advocates.
Supreme Court Petition
Appearing before the Apex Court, Otieno accused IEBC Chairman Wafula Chebukati of holding the country at ransom, after Kenyans willingly voted for their preferred presidential candidates. He argued that the IEBC Chair took it upon himself to verify and declare the presidential results at the Bomas of Kenya without consulting his fellow commissioners.
While sweating profusely in the courtroom, he argued that 14 million voters had a say to elect their national leader but the IEBC boss settled on the winner after what appeared to be a game of “pinky pinky ponky”.
“What Chebukati did is what my niece, Mimi, calls ‘Pinky pinky ponky, Paka mielo disko!(means the cat is dancing at a disco),” he said.
“Chebukati calls both Ruto and Raila and he was the only person who knew who the disco would land on. It fell on Ruto and he said, voila, you are the president.”
He questioned if that is the way the IEBC wanted to run the elections.
“Is that how we intend to choose our national executive? We have reduced it to Mimi’s Pinky Pinky Ponky Paka…” he said.
His stunt was however interrupted by Justice Wanjala who asked him to observe the guidelines of the court.
“I gave you brotherly guidance. Be careful! That language seems to be alien to this court,” Smokin said.