NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1- Attorney General Githu Muigai was on Thursday afternoon sworn in as an ex-officio Member of Parliament.
Prof Muigai, who was sworn in by House Speaker Kenneth Marende, was escorted by Internal Security Minister George Saitoti and Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno.
Prof Muigai took over as Kenya’s sixth Attorney General on Monday replacing long-serving Amos Wako, who had been in office for the past 20 years.
Parliament has 210 elected Members and 12 nominated; the Speaker and the Attorney General serve as ex-officio members. Prof Muigai comes in as Chief Government Legal Advisor under the new Constitution.
While setting foot at Sheria House, for the first time as AG, Prof Muigai pledged to work together with other members of staff to ensure that all the multibillion scams like Anglo leasing and Goldenberg were concluded.
He said that he would familiarise himself with the progress made in each of the cases and seek mutual legal assistance with foreign countries as necessary.
“Obviously when the Captain of the team changes certain aspects of how the team plays the game may change but the spirit of the team, its identity and desire to win can never change,” he had argued.
Meanwhile MPs also unanimously approved the names of nine individuals who will sit in the Judges and Magistrates Vetting Board in line with the Constitution.
While moving the Motion on Thursday evening, Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee (CIOC) Chairman Abdikadir Mohammed lauded the credentials of the members of the Board saying they were up to the task.
Sharad Rao will head the team whose other members are Justus Maithya, Roseline Odhiambo, Prof Ngotho wa Kariuki, Meuludi Mabruki and Abdirashid Abdullahi.
The team also has three foreign judges nominated by the Commonwealth to the President and Prime Minister. These are Ghana’s Chief Justice Georgina Wood, former Lord Justice of Appeal (United Kingdom) Sir Stephen Sedley and Retired Judge of Quebec Court Loiuse Otis.
All the nominees were vetted by the CIOC last month before a report recommending their appointment was tabled in Parliament.
All the MPs who stood up to debate the Motion, which was seconded by nominated MP Millie Odhiambo, supported it.
Lands Minister James Orengo said it was important for the country to have a functioning judiciary arguing that the vetting panel would spearhead it.
Although Garsen MP Danson Mungatana supported their nomination, he argued that it would be better if the membership of future commissions gave a chance to the members of the clergy.
“We cannot just emphasis on their beautiful degrees and we can’t lock out the clergy just because they rejected the Constitution. I am disappointed that we don’t have a clergy man in the list of nominees,” he said.
Internal Security Minister George Saitoti urged the panel to remain transparent in its duties to facilitate judicial reforms. He also warned them against witch-hunting saying it would be counterproductive. Transport Minister Amos Kimunya echoed his sentiments.
The Transport Minister further warned the nominees against being money-oriented at the expense of their national duties.
“I hope people are not just doing this because it is a job. The salary issues we had with the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution were embarrassing and I would not want a situation where commissioners are appointed and they start saying how much they want to be paid,” he said.
While still supporting the Motion, Kimilili MP Eseli Simiyu urged the government to empower the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the Police in order to facilitate wholesome judicial reforms. The CIOC Chairman also raised concern with the inadequate financing given by the government to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“The Judiciary is not the only cog in the judicial system. We must remember to empower the Police and the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions so as to get proper justice,” said the MP.
David Njuguna (Lari), Bonny Khalwale (Ikolomani), David Koech (Mosop), Silas Ruteere (North Imenti), Gitobu Imanyara (Imenti Central) and Bahari Abdul (Isiolo South) also supported the Motion. The MPs further commended the nominees’ list noting that it had regional and gender balance.