, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – He might not be as outspoken as some of his predecessors but Keriako Tobiko has quietly transformed the department of public prosecution during his tenure for the last five years.
Soon after his appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions in 2005, Mr Tobiko began setting up a strategic plan to make the office one of the top achievers in the government\’s performance evaluation due to the turnaround of cases brought before the office.
Although there are those who still believe that he did not bring much transformation to the State Law Office, a cross section of lawyers and legal experts interviewed by Capital News are convinced that Mr Tobiko deserves to be re-appointed, following his nomination and subsequent approval by President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
A special panel that interviewed Mr Tobiko led by COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli said the 47-year-old alumni of Cambridge University was rated high amongst his closest competitors – Dorcas Oduor and Patrick Kiage – because of his impressive track record as DPP and his unrivalled academic qualifications.
Mr Tobiko\’s name was subsequently forwarded to President Kibaki who – after consultations with the Prime Minister – endorsed him before presenting the names to House Speaker Kenneth Marende.
Whether Mr Tobiko will retain his position as Director of Public Prosecutions will depend on Members of Parliament once debate kicks off in the course of the week, most probably beginning Thursday when the Abdikadir Mohammed-led Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee reports back to the House.
"Having developed strategies and systems that have enabled the department of the public prosecutions to operate effectively and efficiently in the period he has been in office, shows that clearly he will do more if retained," a lawyer who didn\’t want to be named discussing a matter pending in Parliament said. "Tobiko is a reformer."
"I do not agree with individuals and particularly those in the civil society who are saying Tobiko should not be re-appointed, he has brought a lot of reforms at the State Law office," the lawyer said citing the National Prosecution Policy that Mr Tobiko developed.
The DPP is also credited with establishing a code of conduct and ethics for prosecutors and training manual for prosecutors.
He was additionally instrumental in regulating and supervising the appointment and performance of prosecutorial functions by police prosecutors, special prosecutors as well as private prosecutors.
Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also a lawyer by profession said the nomination of Tobiko for DPP, Dr Willy Mutunga for CJ and Nancy Baraza for deputy CJ are commendable and he has expressed confidence that the names will be endorsed by Parliament.
He said the three individuals hold credible track records, and he was confident they would transform the judiciary and give Kenyans the much-awaited reforms.
"I am sure Parliament will move quickly and pass the nominations because the Speaker has already received the names after being endorsed by the two principals,\’\’ said Mr Musyoka.
"I have no doubt the names will pass in Parliament, the mood of the house shows that they will pass," the VP said last Thursday.
In the curriculum vitae submitted to the panel that interviewed him, Mr Tobiko credits himself for having represented the State in "sensitive and complex criminal Prosecutions, Appeals and Judicial Reviews and Constitutional Petitions and References."
Other listed achievements, include "directing, guiding and supervising prosecuting counsel in devising and executing pre-trial, in-trial and post-trial prosecution strategies and techniques to ensure efficient, effective and just prosecution results."
Prior to his appointment in 2005, Mr Tobiko was running his private firm Tobiko & Associates Advocates established in 1993.
He previously taught law at the University of Nairobi (between 1992 and 1993) as an Assistant Lecturer, mainly teaching criminal law, law and society, legal methods in the Faculty of Law and other Faculties.
He was also the Legal Officer at the Public Law Institute where he was in charge of the Pastoralist Legal Programme.
Mr Tobiko was a commissioner in the Njonjo Land Commission that sat between 1999 and 2002 and also served in the Constitution of Kenya Review Commission (CKRC) between 2000 and 2005.