Mahat Somane, 38


Garane & Somane Advocates

Raised in Garissa, Mahat’s heart is in helping the poor. At 28, he co-founded a law firm that supports start-ups to navigate legal hurdles as a means of resolving unemployment. Over 30 startups
have benefited from his pro bono services. Besides his engagement with start-ups, his law firm offers free legal aid to the underserved and vulnerable to ensure they access justice. He also helps poor households in Garissa access low-cost and energy- efficient solar power at no cost.

“Being in a position to give back is wonderful. Coming from a community that has grappled with marginalisation and ostracism instilled in me a drive to pursue a career that would fulfil my quest to be a part of the needed change for my community,” says Mahat, who grew up in a family of 10.

Mahat holds a Masters of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Business and another one in law from the Harvard Law School.“Winning the Fulbright scholarship to Harvard was a turning point as it gave me a lifetime opportunity to learn and soak up legal education at a global stage,” he says.

Away from his law firm, Mahat teaches at different universities. He also sits in the Public-Private Partnership Committee.“The committee has undertaken various projects in collaboration with the private sector, key among them being the Roads Annuity Projects,” he says. He was also appointed to the Tax Appeals Tribunal this year to help clear the court cases backlog. He also served as a counsel at the Supreme Court during the presidential petition.

“My target is to expand my practice with an additional team of lawyers at our various branches across the country,” he says.

Growing the law firm has been a key challenge for him.“The amount of investment and commitment required to lift it off the ground and maintain quality standards throughout is immerse,” says Mahat, who also dabbles in watermelon farming.

-Kevin Rotich