During Naftal Obwoni’s time in school, his father unexpectedly lost his job and became embroiled in a protracted legal battle against his employer. Obwoni personally witnessed his father’s struggle, which was exacerbated by his lack of familiarity with the country’s legal framework and judicial systems. This experience inspired him to find a solution that would provide ordinary Kenyans with access to comprehensive legal information and the judicial system.
Obwoni, trained as an IT practitioner, embarked on a journey to develop various solutions, harnessing emerging technologies. One of his groundbreaking innovations is Wakili, an Artificial Intelligence-powered super lawyer equipped with knowledge of all Kenyan laws and judicial systems.
Obwoni’s aim was to democratize the legal field, utilizing the capabilities of AI for social good. He developed Wakili to enable anyone to access legal information in Kenya and the Commonwealth. Users can simply access Wakili through their mobile or computer browsers, input their questions in Swahili, English, Spanish, French, or Italian, and receive informative responses.
Wakili has been trained to communicate in multiple languages, including English, Swahili, Spanish, Italian, French, and Mandarin. Whether someone has questions about land disputes, fraud, divorce, or any legal matter, they can type their queries in Swahili or English, and Wakili, the super lawyer, will provide advice, legal implications, and relevant constitutional clauses.
Wakili is designed to cater to a wide audience, from the average citizen (Mwananchi) to legal professionals and organizations in need of legal document drafting. Approximately 1200 people, including a prominent law firm in Upperhill Nairobi, have already benefited from Wakili’s services.
Geoffrey Nyaanga, a Kenyan high court advocate, uses the platform for research purposes in his law firm, Nyaanga & Mugisha Advocates. He appreciates the platform’s extensive legal knowledge and its ability to pinpoint the specific laws and statutes necessary for research.
Wakili offers access to legal information for only Ksh. 50, making it affordable and accessible to a wide range of users. It is essentially a Kenyan version of the well-known Chat GPT, tailored to Kenyan laws and judicial systems.
Obwoni faces resistance from some lawyers who fear that Wakili may replace them. However, Obwoni and Nyaanga argue that Wakili’s role is to support lawyers by aiding in research and disseminating judicial information, not to replace them. The Law Society of Kenya is open to innovations that utilize emerging technologies to enhance the legal profession, emphasizing that AI cannot replicate the essential human qualities, such as perception, emotions, and interpretation, that are integral to the legal field.