NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 2 – President Mwai Kibaki on Friday paid glowing tribute to former Attorney General Amos Wako whom he credited for gains realised by the country with regard to legal reforms.
President Kibaki noted that Mr Wako expended tremendous efforts in ensuring that Kenya secured a new Constitution although the path was difficult.
He emphasised that the outgoing AG worked with all stakeholders to ensure that the reform process was successful.
The President was speaking at the Hotel Intercontinental Nairobi during a luncheon hosted in honour of the Mr Wako.
Describing the former AG as one of Kenya’s brilliant legal minds, the Head of State commended Mr Wako for ably advising and guiding the three arms of government on pertinent legal and legislative matters during his tenure of office.
Apart from having the distinct honour of being the longest serving Attorney General in Kenya’s history, the President affirmed that during Mr Wako’s tenure, major achievements were recorded, particularly with respect to political and constitutional reforms.
Said the President; “We are gathered here to celebrate his illustrious career as Attorney-General and to wish him a happy retirement. On behalf of the Government and people of Kenya, and on my own behalf, I wish to sincerely thank Hon. Wako for the service he has rendered to our country.”
He also commended the Attorney General’s office for playing its rightful role in the implementation process of the new set of laws.
The Head of State assured; “The Government is determined to ensure that the Constitution is fully implemented. In this regard, I call upon the new Attorney General Githu Muigai to keep up the momentum set by his predecessor and ensure that all deadlines set out by law are met.”
“As we all appreciate, it was during Hon Wako’s tenure that major initiatives were undertaken to improve service delivery at the Attorney General’s Chambers. These include the modernisation of the Company Registry department as well as the refurbishment of the facilities at the Civil Marriage department. Terms of Service for members of Staff at the State Law Office were also improved and this has ensured that the Office can attract competent and qualified personnel.”
He asserted that as Mr Wako exits, everybody had a duty to build on what he had done especially carrying on with reforms that are under implementation as well as to further improve the terms and conditions of service of judicial personnel and establishment of effective mechanisms to deal with errant judicial officers.
“Other critical reforms include, procuring adequate human resources with a view to addressing the existing backlog of cases, moving from the manual systems of operations that affect efficiency in service delivery and ensuring transparency in the appointment and promotion of judicial officers,” the President remarked.
Appreciating that the challenges facing the country’s judicial system were not simple, the President expressed joy that the blueprint for dealing with these challenges had already been clearly formulated by the Task Force on Judicial Reforms and called for commitment to the implementation of the necessary reforms.
“Indeed, I am encouraged that we are making good progress in this direction. For the first time in the history of our nation, for example, we have in the recent past made important appointments in the Judiciary through a competitive and transparent process that was open to public scrutiny,” observed the Head of State.
During the occasion, the President expressed confidence that the nation would succeed in opening a new dispensation of the rule of law and thanked Mr Wako for his distinguished service to the country.
President Kibaki urged the retiring AG to use his vast knowledge and experience for the development of our beloved nation and the region as well.
The Head of State reiterated that the Judiciary that Kenyans desire cannot be delivered by judicial officers alone and called on Kenyans to play their part in supporting the ongoing reform efforts.
In particular, President Kibaki called upon Kenyans to play their part by embracing the culture of the rule of law as well as to avoid shortcuts and allow the law to take its course so as to succeed in realising judicial efficiency.
This, the President affirmed, would ensure that judicial corruption, inefficiency and delays in court processes are things of the past.
In his remarks the Prime Minister Raila Odinga termed the occasion historic and one that has never been witnessed in the country since independence.
The Prime Minister thanked the outgoing AG for shrewdly unlocking stalemates in the country’s 20 years of agitation for reforms including the sourcing of Prof Yash Pal Ghai to steer the constitution making process to bridge gaps between various stakeholders in the review process.
Mr Odinga underscored that for Mr Wako to have served the country uninterruptedly for 20 years was an indication he had something valuable to offer to the nation.
The Head of Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Ambassador Francis Muthaura termed the outgoing AG as a man of great brilliance and one who almost had a ready solution for any challenge and which was accepted by the government with ease.
It is such special talent and ability that made the retired AG steer on and secure his job for so long, affirmed Amb. Muthaura.
On his part Mr Wako thanked President Kibaki and the Prime Minister for conferring trust and confidence on him during his reign at the AG chambers.
He thanked the President and Prime Minister for their vigorous campaigns to secure the enactment of the new constitution and expressed joy that vital legislation to underpin the new set laws had been realised.
The former AG pointed out that God helped him during trying moments and submitted to history as the final judge of his long service to the nation and its citizens.
In attendance were Deputy Prime Ministers Uhuru Kenyatta and Musalia Mudavadi, cabinet ministers, Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai, Chief Justice Dr Willy Mutunga, Deputy Speaker Farah Maalim, Chief of Defence Forces Julius Karangi and senior government officials.