He joined the August 8 presidential election as a fringe candidate but has now been thrust in the middle of the October 26 repeat presidential election.
Former Committee of Experts (CoE) member Ekuru Aukot surprised many when he declared he would run for the presidency on a Thirdway Alliance party ticket.
But Aukot soldiered on, turning up for the presidential debate organised by the Media Owners of Kenya at the Catholic University of East Africa in July.
When Kenyans voted on August 8, Aukot emerged fifth with 27,400 votes. He managed to beat Joseph Kaluyu (11,774), Cyrus Jirongo (11,282), and Michael Mwaura (8,870).
In the elections that were nullified by the Supreme Court on September 1, President Uhuru Kenyatta had 8.2 million, followed by Raila Odinga (6.8 million), Joseph Nyagah (38,029), and Abduba Dida (38,004).
Aukot was among the first to call a press conference to concede defeat and urge other candidates to do the same to enable the country to move on.
A few days later, he rescinded his concession and applied to be enjoined in the Raila petition that challenged Uhuru’s win. At the time, he pointed out that he had changed his mind because the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) had mismanaged the elections.
When IEBC set the date for the repeat poll that was to involve only Uhuru and Raila, Aukot went to court to seek to be included as a candidate in the October 26 poll.
Wednesday, the court granted him his wish and he immediately said his party would go on a retreat to chart the way forward.
Opinion is divided on how the country will proceed after Raila’s withdrawal but Aukot is set to be at the centre of it all.
Legal experts are divided on whether there should be fresh elections or if Uhuru should be declared the winner and sworn in for his second and last term.
Aukot, born in 1972 in Aukot Tarkus’ polygamous family in what he describes as the 'infamous' Kapedo area of Turkana County, says his family displaced from its home because of tribal conflicts.
He rose to fame as a renowned lawyer and scholar after bagging his PhD and LLM in international refugee law and law in development at the University of Warwick, UK.
He also holds a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Nairobi (UoN) and a diploma in legal practice from the Kenya School of Law.
Aukot served in the Committee of Experts in Kenya that collected views on Kenya’s 2010 Constitution and was on the panel that selected some of the current IEBC commissioners.
The Thirdway Alliance leader has also offered consultancy services in Liberia, Tunisia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Liberia and Egypt.
Aukot is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya and the founder of Ekuru Aukot Law Consulting firm.
He has taught constitutional and administrative law at the UoN, University of Warwick, and Kenya School of Law.
He is a visiting law lecturer on the law of refugees and internally displaced people at UoN and the East African School of Refugees & Humanitarian Affairs, and Refugee Law Project, Makerere University, Uganda.
Aukot has also edited the renowned African Section of the Refugee Law Reader. He has expertise in constitutional law, policy, human rights, governance, and forced migration.
He has served as executive director of Kituo Cha Sheria.
Aukot is the founder and president of Ekuru Aukot Foundation, a lobby group that supports the education of nomadic and pastoralist boys and girls.
He says his decision to stand for the elections is to challenge an age-old hegemony where the large tribes often gang up to front a candidate.
He says he is inspired by leaders like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, who suffered without bitterness and gave back to society without expecting special treatment.