Yusuf Abubakar is not a new name in the Coast region as he is known by many for defending those accused of terrorism.
Having practiced his profession for 23 years, he didn’t know the career he chose would make or destroy him. In a candid interview with Nation, he reveals how he has become an enemy to many.
The lawyer says that he has received threats many times because of defending the most-wanted terrorists in court.
He defended the late Sheikh Aboud Rogo and Salim Mohammed who is currently being sought by security agents. He takes pride that all those he defends have never been convicted.
His problems started when the police accused him of meddling in their affairs. Also, he has been perceived as an enemy by the community.
“But I will never regret the path I chose, because not only has it given me experience but it has also taught me lessons,” said Abubakar.
He further said his challenge is when he is defending a murder or terror suspect, because he is going against the State to prove that the accused is innocent.
He said since he defended Aboud Rogo and his wife, it has never been an easy journey for him.
People lashed out at him saying he is defending terrorists and criminals, adding that he is proud those he defended have never been convicted.
Abubakar said he has no security even when his life comes to danger, “My security is God only.”
He has received blames from the affected families, blaming him for defending suspects.
He also revealed that he also deals with murder cases. He said Omar Lali’s murder case where he was accused of killing Keroche heiress Tecra Muigai was a unique one.
He said although Omar Lali was a poor man fighting against a rich family, he is proud for succeeding in proving his innocence in Lamu before the case was transferred to a court in Garsen, Tana River County where he also succeeded in proving his innocence.
“When defending murder and terror you have to be keen, careful and gather enough evidence,” said Abubakar.
He added that Hemed Salim’s case is still fresh in his mind. This is after Salim was abducted in 2014 outside Masjid Musa in Mombasa and they are still following up on his whereabouts seven years later.
Despite being a tough lawyer, he also experiences hard times. He recalled some of his toughest cases being those of by-election petitions in Shela and Ganda wards.
“It is difficult for a petitioner to succeed in such cases but we won the Shela one in 2013 and Ganda in 2017,” he said.
He recalls his childhood days and what made him choose to be a lawyer. He said back then, they lived as squatters in their land with no place to call home.
His father didn’t own a title deed and this prevented him from getting a loan to send Abubakar to a good school.
Witnessing his father receiving threats daily rekindled his passion to go for law as a career.
Having been born and raised in Gazi, Kwale County, he went to Makongeni Primary School before proceeding to Barani School in Kanamai Kilifi County.
He later transferred to Serani Primary School in Mombasa County where he completed Standard Eight in 1986.
He later joined Shimo La Tewa High School where he sat for his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams in 1990.
Abubakar then joined University of Nairobi for law between 1992 and 1996. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in 1998.
Since then, he has been practicing law and he said at 52 years, he is proud to have touched all fields of law.
Abubakar has tackled criminal, constitutional, land, Kadhi, terror and murder cases.
He declared that his interest is in politics currently. “In 2004, I contested the Kisauni MP’s seat under Shirikisho Party where I was Secretary General, But I lost and emerged number three.”
He said he believes he can balance politics and law and that is why he is going to try it in 2022 by contesting for a seat in Lamu County.