, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – President Mwai Kibaki’s nominee for Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai was on Thursday morning questioned by the Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) over his suitability for the post.
Prof Muigai, who has an impressive record in law, promised to dedicate his first few months in office to conclude the cold Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg scams, which have been pending for more than five years.
He added that he would protect the Constitution’s sanctity by ensuring that it was not unnecessarily amended with the risk of watering down its provisions.
He also said that the country was better off taking legislative measures to ensure that the constitutional provisions on gender were met rather than amending the Constitution.
“I would be hesitant and would counsel against beginning to amend this Constitution now. And if each time an issue arises we rush to amend it then we will fall back into the original problems that we had in the 1960s and 1970s,” he argued.
Prof Muigai also said that he would ensure that Kenya continued cooperating with the International Criminal Court which opened investigations into the country’s post election violence.
Committee members Elizabeth Ongoro (Kasarani), John Mbadi (Gwasi), Kilemi Mwiria (Tigania West), Amina Abdallah (nominated), Joseph Nkaissery (Kajiado Central) and Beth Mugo (Dagoretti) however put him to task over his nomination asking him if it was credible.
Ms Mugo asked him to clarify if he had any ties with the family of the country’s first President.
“And of course being a Kenyatta we would be very proud to be related to a person of your calibre and experience. But just for the record could you tell us whether you have the relationship with that family or you just share a name like a Kamau or a Njoroge with the Kenyattas?” she asked.
Prof Muigai however said that he was nominated to the post because of his distinguished career record and not because of any relationship he might have with the political elite. He also said that he would not let his relationship with the appointing authority cloud his judgment or leadership style.
“Muigai is a name that I think is very common; as common as Ouma or Mutiso but I don’t belong to the Kenyatta family. I come from a very small village called Ndumberi which is very far away from where this family comes from,” he quipped.
“Those of you who have been to Ndumberi know it’s a very humble place,” he added.
CIOC Chair Abdikadir Mohammed further asked Prof Muigai what reforms he would facilitate in the docket if he was appointed. Ms Ongoro asked him what he would do to ensure that there was regional balance in his office if he was appointed.
Prof Muigai mentioned that he would liberate the AG’s office by ensuring that it got more resources and manpower to undertake its works. He also said that there was a need to deal with the salary discrepancies in the judicial system so as to beat corruption in the service.
He added that there was need to synchronise and harmonise all the judicial structures so as to facilitate their duties and tasks.
“We have an anti corruption system where we pay the director a very reasonable amount and the deputies an equally reasonable amount. But they are very few people in the justice system,” he noted.
“Then you have the police man taking finger prints taking Sh15,000 per month, the court clerk keeping the records on Sh10,000 per month so there’s a risk of having corruption downwards,” he said.
Prof Muigai added that he would do away with the archaic marriage and companies’ law arguing that they no longer served Kenyans’ interests.
Prof Muigai was born in January 31, 1960 and has three children.
He holds a doctorate in law from the University of Nairobi, has received several honorary certificates including one from the Law Society of Kenya, he is a United Nations special Rapporteur and a partner in Mohamed-Muigai law Advocates, which he co-founded in 1988.
He also served as a Judge in the African Court of People and Human Rights in Arusha but resigned. He was also part of the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission between 2000 and 2005.