2014 BARER FELLOWS
Hezron Krop Kangerep - KENYA
The 12th of 18 siblings in an extended family, Hezron was brought up in semi-arid lands of north western Kenya near the north eastern border of Uganda. He is part of a nomadic and semi nomadic tribe called Pokot, where availability of pasture and water determine the length of stay in a given area.
Colonial and post-colonial governments have marginalized pastoralist communities such as the Pokot. Hezron was 4 years old when the biggest government security operation was carried out disarm the Pokot. Hundreds of people lost their lives, others have permanent injuries, and the entire community was impoverished due to the loss of livestock. This operation was later captured by the Kenyan Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission as a major historical injustice by the government on its people.
It was by luck, discipline, his mother's guidance, and his passion for positive change that drove Hezron to choose education rather than being a warrior. Of the 18 siblings, he is the only one who has graduated from university. After completing his undergraduate degree in Integrated Community Development with a minor in Peace and Conflict Transformation at Daystar University, he worked in the field of human rights and conflict transformation. In 2008, he joined the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (CJPC) where he served for 3 years. There, his team received individual and community complaints and successfully developed strategic interventions to reduce inter and intra community tensions. Hezron guided the Pokot on the Truth Telling process (Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission - as a team leader for the statement taking process). Having witnessed past injustices, he personally petitioned the Commission to have public hearings in his district, a move which all three of his local members of parliament feared to do. He participated in facilitating the seeking of integration of the Pokot community in Ugandan territory. His team successfully ended cattle rustling between three districts of West Pokot, Trans Nzoia and Marakwet in a community driven process that had proven difficult for the local government.
Currently, Hezron works for the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), a Constitutional Commission mandated to promote and protect the rights of people in Kenya. His department does reform work on Security Sector, Judicial and Penal Reforms, and Transitional justice. Hezron also serves the commission receiving and processing of human rights complaints, monitoring resettlement exercises, inspecting of detention places and investigating individual and region-specific human rights complaints.
Being a Barer Fellow offers him a rare opportunity to improve his knowledge in law and development and enrich his ability to efficiently and effectively deliver services in his career. His country is still in transition from a struggling economy to a middle level economy. Having adopted a devolved system of government after promulgation of the new constitution in 2010, the small units of governments will require functional knowledge in giving Sustainable Development a priority during their legislative processes. Many of the Counties in the north are endowed with enormous mineral resources. New discoveries indicate that there are aquifers, oil wells, and precious minerals including gold, copper, aluminum, limestone and silver among others. Their eventual mining will lead to displacement of people, change of pastoralist lifestyle, destruction of natural environment and may lead to different forms of conventional conflict and the emergence of informal urban centers. Having been born in this community and experiencing the day to day realities, Hezron is passionate and confident that the eventual product of his studies at the University of Washington will make him part of the solution for the much needed Sustainable Development in Kenya. He is primarily interested in research on the role of law in giving priority to Sustainable Development and guaranteeing human rights for rural and marginalized communities in Kenya and east Africa.
Read Mr. Kangerep's "A Sea of Support in Seattle"
Jonathan Muwaganya - UGANDA
Jonathan is the seventh born in a family of ten. Raised in a rural community in the eastern part of Uganda, he witnessed the turbulent political turmoil that happened in his country from the time he was an infant. The rampant extrajudicial killings, arbitrary grabbing of private property by government officials, corruption, breakdown of the rule of law, and discriminatory practices against minority groups that characterized Uganda at the time instilled in him a desire to become an agent of social transformation in his society.
Besides human rights violations, Uganda is facing a serious environmental crisis that is being brought on by the uncontrolled need for rapid economic development in order to meet the high demand for participating in the marketplace. Other issues of concern in Uganda are the destruction of cultures and cultural heritage, uncontrolled environment degradation, and the poor administration of justice. These issues are posing great threats to attaining sustainable development.
As early as Primary 6, Jonathan's teacher inspired him to become a lawyer. He wanted to attain a better understanding of the law and position himself to bring justice to wrongdoers and hold leaders accountable. In his secondary education, Jonathan was involved in several student movements that advocated for provision of better services to students and abolition of corporal punishments in schools. He rose from being chairman of the student union in his school to being the chairman of the district student union. He also participated in several social activities that aimed to give people a better life like the Red Cross clubs and scripture unions at school.
After he received an Advanced Certificate of Education, Jonathan received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in 2005. In 2006, he received a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Bar Course) from the Law Development center, Kampala. He became a member of the Ugandan bar in 2007 and worked at a private law firm until January 2008.
In February 2008, he sought employment with the government of Uganda, as a State Attorney with the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Uganda. He believed that even with the prevailing and persistent corruption in the justice system in Uganda at the time, he could meaningfully contribute by serving the public with integrity, honesty, and accountability, as a way to contribute to social transformation. He therefore left the rather more rewarding private practice for a public sector job in search of an opportunity to serve the public in a distinctive and exemplary manner with a belief that it was the surest way to directly foster social change and address imbalances in the public sector.
He has since served as a Resident State Attorney in a number of DPP field stations including in the northern part of the country, which is still recovering from a devastating 20-year war by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). This position has afforded Jonathan the opportunity to handle a wide range of criminal prosecutions, the exposure from which has distinguished him as an accomplished public prosecutor in Uganda who believes that law is not only a legal tool for addressing social wrongs, but can also be used as a tool for social and economic transformation of society if applied in a fair, just, and equitable manner.
Read Mr. Muwaganya's "The Barer Fellowship is changing lives"
Moses Wanyonyi Wanjala - KENYA
Moses is the sixth born in a family of ten children. He grew up at a village called Naitiri in Bungoma, a town in the Western part of Kenya. He is a family man with three lovely boys.
Throughout his life, law and justice have always been in his heart. His pursuit for education was almost frustrated while in primary school for lack of finances as the family struggled to meet other needs considered 'more basic' than education. This forced him to repeat standard seven thrice in three different schools, but never killed his desire to succeed in education. He believed that a truly just society is the best and highest form of development that mankind can attain and that this can only be achieved through empowerment through education, a belief that he still holds dear to his heart.
Moses studied law at Moi University and later joined the Kenya School of Law where he attained a post graduate diploma in law. He was admitted to the bar in Kenya in 2008 and is a member of the Law Society of Kenya. He is currently serving as a resident magistrate at the Judicial Review and Constitutional & Human Rights Division at Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. Currently, he sat and passed a course in mediation which grants him admission as an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and has enrolled for courses leading to the attainment of a Certified Public Secretary of Kenya.
He recalls the day he was admitted as an advocate as one of his memorable days. It gave him the chance to practice law, to represent clients in court and be part of the system that ensures justice is done. Before admission, Moses worked with the Western Youth Network, an association that worked with the community creating awareness on topical issues that affect them.
Becoming a Barer Fellow has opened the chance to fulfill his dream of pursuing law to the highest level. He has particular interest in human rights issues, law and justice and the role of law in achieving a modern society that is just, equal and fair. He believes that law can play a very important role in development by addressing social evils like corruption which hamper progression.
With mediation and arbitration skills, Moses intends, upon return, to make alternative dispute resolution not only vibrant, but an option of choice within the Kenyan Judiciary. He believes that the knowledge he will gain will enable him use his position as a judicial officer to foster positive societal change through his decisions.
Read Mr. Wanjala's "The Summer Institute of Transnational Law and Practice: A Safe Starting Place"