Transgender activist Audrey Ithibu Mbugua has won a battle against the Kenya National Examinations Council after the Appellate court upheld a decision compelling them to change her academic certificates to reflect ‘her’ new identity.

In 2014, Audrey Mbugua, who was formerly known as Andrew Ithibu Mbugua, went to court to get the name changed. The High Court ordered the country’s education authorities to amend the name on the certificates, but the national examination authority (Knec) appealed against the decision.

At the time, Judge Weldon Korir said the authority had failed to demonstrate why it could not make the changes she desired.  The Court of Appeal said that Knec had not established a basis to overturn the decision, In 2014, Ms Mbugua described the High Court’s decision as a “huge watershed moment”.

Justice Korir ruled in her favour but Knec appealed, arguing that the certificate was issued in accordance with the registration particulars “under which he registered for the examination”.  Knec further doubted that the gender transition Ms Mbugua claimed to have been undergoing was sanctioned by law and that there is no requirement in law for it to effect a name change.