, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 23 – The Executive’s shifting of positions over when President Uhuru Kenyatta would and should appoint a tribunal to probe Supreme Court Judge Philip Tunoi has led a section of MPs to question the quality of legal advice the Head of State is receiving.
Igembe South MP Mithika Linturi and Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo accused Attorney General Githu Muigai and Senior Constitutional and Legislative Advisor Abdikadir Mohamed of misleading President Kenyatta on the tax payers’ dime.
- Justice Philip Tunoi was accused of receiving Sh200mn bribe from Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero to rule in his favour in a petition filed by Ferdinard Waititu.
- President Kenyatta initially declined to appoint a tribunal to probe Justice Tunoi and instead opted to wait for outcome of a case challenging Tunoi's retirement age.
- Waititu has gone back to Supreme Court seeking review of its decision upholding Kidero's election as Nairobi Governor following the claims of bribery.
They say President Kenyatta’s initial decision to put off the formation of the tribunal – past the constitutional 14-day deadline – was ill-advised and requires the intervention of Parliament.
“Mr Speaker Article 168 (5) says the President shall. Mr Speaker the word shall has not too many meanings unless Honourable Githu Muigai has created another dictionary for English?” Midiwo posed after Linturi sought “guidance” from National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi on what action the August House could reasonably take against Muigai and Abdikadir.
“Isn’t it time for this Parliament to sit down now and ask questions on whether the current Attorney General of the Republic of Kenya is really living up to the expectations of his office?”
But following President Kenyatta’s change of mind and ultimate appointment of a tribunal, the Chair of the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Samuel Chepkonga and South Mugirango Manson Nyamweya were in favour of letting Muigai and Abdikadir off the hook in the spirit of ‘no harm, no foul.’
Defending Muigai’s track record, they argued that President Kenyatta held the ultimate responsibility for his decisions and not his advisors.
“The Attorney General would advise, give an opinion but that’s the end of it. It’s up to the President to either take it or not,” Nyamweya submitted.
Muturi whose own legal opinion had been sought put an end to the debate at this stage by pointing out that the House had neither been petitioned over the matter nor received direct Communication from the President on his decision to constitute a tribunal.