Kenya boasts of having top notch lawyers who have been behind defining moments in the history of our nation.

Likewise, it is almost synonymous that these lawyers dipped their feet in the politics of the day to influence historical change.

From the 1982 Kenyan coup d'état attempt to the Saba Saba movement of 1990 to the push for a multi-party democracy in 1992, lawyers have played a defining role in Kenya's history.

A look at Kenya's recent history; the 2002 power shift from the Nyayo regime, the 2008 Government of National Unity, promulgation of a new Constitution in 2010 and the historic Uhuru-Odinga handshake of 2018, it is clear to see the influence of law defenders and advocates.

Pulse Live takes a look at 10 top politicians in the country who have earned the respect and recognition of their peers in the field of law.

  • Kalonzo Musyoka
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka during a meeting
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka during a meeting

Arguably, former Vice President and current Wiper Party leader Kalonzo Musyoka has managed to etch his name in Kenya's history for close to 30 years.

Mr Musyoka, who recently earned the prestigious Senior Counsel title, has been an advocate of the High Court since 1978 (42 years).

Among the positions he has held in the political sphere are; Minister (Home Affairs, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Tourism, Education), deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, KANU Party Secretary and Kitui North and Mwingi North MP.

  • Raychelle Omamo

Perhaps a surprising member of our list is the Senior Counsel who has served in both of President Uhuru Kenyatta's cabinets.

Foreign Affairs CS Raychelle Omamo has been an advocate of the High Court of Kenya for 28 years.

In addition, she is the Vice-President of the East African Law Society, Kenya’s Ambassador Representative to UNESCO, current Director of Mo-Consulty Ltd and a member of the Board of Directors for Amref Flying Doctors.

  • Amos Wako

The current Busia Senator also served as Kenya's Attorney General for 20 years, from 1991 to 2011.

As the history of Kenya's constitution is written, Wako will feature prominently for the "Wako Draft" of 2005 and as a member of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission.

Mr Wako and his family are currently banned from travelling to the United States over "deliberately blocking political reforms".

Busia Senator Amos Wako
Busia Senator Amos Wako
  • Martha Karua

Senior Counsel Martha Karua also known as "the Iron Lady" has earned the respect of lawyers and lay men alike.

Ms Karua is often lauded for her famous walk-out during a State event presided by former President Daniel Moi on June 16, 2001.

She has been an advocate of the High Court of Kenya for 39 years and is remembered as the lawyer who represented Koigi Wamwere and Mirugi Kariuki who were accused of treason at a time when the government of the day was seen as a dictatorship.

She is the current Narc-Kenya party leader and has served as Justice and Water Minister in addition to having represented Gichugu in parliament.

  • Kiraitu Murungi

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi is a highly respected, Harvard-trained lawyer in Kenya.

His law firm, Kamau Kuria, Kiraitu and Ringera Advocates, was the first one to represent political detainees during the single party regime and went on to become the most famous and successful constitutional litigation law firm in Kenya. He is currently the Senior Partner at Humphrey & Company Advocates LLP in Nairobi.

The Governor earned his place among the pioneers of Kenya's second liberation during the Saba Saba movement.

  • James Orengo

Siaya Senator James Orengo is one of very few Kenyan politicians who can boast of having been elected by constituents without ever campaigning on the ground.

The Senior Counsel has earned repute as a well-spoken, highly persuasive human rights political activist. He was once Kenya's youngest MP having been elected when he was 29 years old.

Orengo along with Michael Kijana Wamalwa, Kiraitu Murungi, Raila Odinga, Paul Muite were among the Young Turks who along with Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Masinde Muliro and Martin Shikuku brought about what was termed as Kenya's second liberation.

His polished submissions at the Supreme Court during the 2017 presidential election petition popularized the law terms "amicus curiae" and "learned friend".

  • Moses Wetangula

Ford-Kenya party leader Moses Wetangula has also earned a distinguished repute among his law peers.

Though his politicking and personal life have occasionally made him the object of ridicule, the Bungoma Senator reserves bragging rights as the lawyer who defended soldiers implicated in the 1982 coup.

Senator Moses Wetangula
Senator Moses Wetangula
  • Mutula Kilonzo Jr

Son to former Justice and also Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo Senior, the now Makueni Senator who also succeeded his father at the Senate is a force to reckon with.

Senator Kilonzo Jr has been an advocate of the High Court of Kenya for 19 years.

He is a senior associate at his late father's firm, Kilonzo & Co. Advocates.

  • Millie Odhiambo
Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo
Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo

Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo is among the few women in parliament who are respected for their contributions to the political discourse of the day as well as her professional opinion.

She recently led the charge in parliament to make history as the first National Assembly to participate in the viral Jerusalema Challenge.

Ms Odhiambo has been an advocate of the High Court of Kenya for 28 years.

  • Alice Wahome

A controversial voice of our time, Kandara MP Alice Wahome has been an advocate of the High Court for 35 years.

She is recognized for her intensive work in women empowerment and advocacy, having worked with Federation of Women Lawyers-Kenya, FIDA council as the vice-chairperson and Law Society of Kenya council member.