Life in the slums tests the resilience of the human spirit daily. When Dennis lived in extreme poverty and saw firsthand the injustices in Kibera, he did not despair and resign to fate like so many others.
After witnessing 30 of his close friends and classmates meet their deaths at the hands of police officers by the time he finished high school, he resolved to do something.
“While growing up, it was normal to see people around us getting killed by the police,” says Dennis.
Those lucky to escape the extrajudicial killings lived only to watch helplessly as their dreams for a better life died under the strain of many systemic issues that plagued his society.
"He co-founded the Social Justice Centres Working Group, through which he defends hundreds of families in court cases and offers pro-bono legal aid and mentorship programmes."
Today, he is a renowned human rights defender fighting to stop injustices and improve the welfare of the often neglected poor communities.
He co-founded the Social Justice Centres Working Group, through which he defends hundreds of families in court cases and offers pro-bono legal aid and mentorship programmes, among other community outreaches.
Besides working to stop police brutality and extrajudicial executions, the centres play an advocacy role by pushing for good governance and service delivery, especially water and adequate housing.
Over the years, he has helped set up over 90 social justice centres nationwide, with 19 in Nairobi. Dennis leads the legal committee at the Dandora Centre.
The Mandela Washington Fellow’s latest achievement is the approval of the Supreme Court on his proposal to have additional courts in Nairobi to ease the backlog at Milimani, Kibra, and Makadara.
“The new courts, which will come up in Mihango and Dagoretti will be a plus because they will reduce the backlog of cases to fairly manageable numbers,” he says.
When the University of Nairobi graduate and the University of Virginia is not in court or at the centre, he volunteers for a community project.