The Meaning of President Kibaki’s Nomination of Prof. Githu Muigai As Attorney General

25 Aug

By nominating Prof. Githu Muigai, President Mwai Kibaki has accomplished something of a rarity for a meek but sleek politician like him: He has flipped the finger on Kenyans; he has flipped the finger on Kikuyu lawyers and while at it, he has flipped the finger on all Kenyan women lawyers.

The position of Kenya’s attorney general was held by the venerable Charles Mugane Njonjo from our country’s independence through 1979, when Amos Wako effectively took over the portfolio in 1991 and clung to it in good times and bad times until this month when he was forced to exit, smiling.

President Kibaki has now nominated Githu Muigai to succeed Wako.

What is wrong with this picture?

First, it’s wrong to have public officers serving this long in any office.

Second, when I implored Kibaki to lead in ending tribalism in Kenya and asked our fellow brothers and sisters from Central to do the same thing, a blogger commented on my efforts as being a waste of time for, according to him, Kibaki is the most tribalist president we have had.

I don’t know about all that that but Kibaki has done nothing but propagate this belief among many, with his nomination of Githu Muigai as AG.

Surely, he could have found an equally, if not more qualified Kenyan from other tribes than returning the portfolio to his fellow Kikuyu.

Again, before I hear this from someone, let me hasten to add there is nothing tribalistic in saying what I am saying.

I will say the same thing, if it was a fellow Kisii doing the same thing.

But, why has the president nominated yet another Kikuyu to the AG position?

It is not as if the president is unaware of what appointing another Kikuyu to the position entails.

He is and in my humble view, he is flipping all of us, the finger.

After all, he is the president and this is the last months of his last term.

In other words, he and his advisers must be telling themselves, “we can do this; what is anybody going to do about it?”

The timid Kenyans we are, we must accept this as reality and move on, so the belief goes.

They may have a point, but change is coming where these will be truly attitudes of the past.

But beyond Kenyans as a whole, the president has flipped an even bigger finger to two specific groups:

The first one, is the rest of his fellow brethren from Central.

After his botched attempt to install Muigai as AG, only to be foiled by Raila, Kibaki should have altogether let go the idea of installing Uhuru Kenyatta’s cousin as AG and if he and his advisers this strongly believe he had to have a Kikuyu in the slot, then he should have at least identified and appointed one from among the many other Kikuyu lawyers in the country other than the man he clearly did not have qualifications alone in mind when he tried to recklessly ram him through the process the last time.

Instead, Kibaki has chosen to return to the same man, Githu, which can only mean he has concluded Githu is the only qualified Kikuyu lawyer in the country fit for nomination and appointment to the position of AG.

To those who think otherwise, especially my learned Kikuyu friends, the president is flipping a finger to all of you.

Again, the question they have asked and answered in the negative is, what are you going to do about it?

Kibaki is, after all, the president and is serving the last months of his presidency.

Women have not fared any better in Kibaki’s thinking and calculations.

With the new constitution, which Kibaki does get part credit for helping getting it passed, the role of women in government is greatly encouraged and, in fact, mandated.

Kibaki would have acted in the letter and spirit of the new constitution by appointing a woman as our first woman AG.

Instead, Kibaki has recoiled to appointing yet another man to this important position, which can only mean he has concluded there is no woman qualified to hold the position.

To those who think otherwise, especially my learned female friends, the president is flipping a finger to all of you, too.

What are you going to do about it?

He is, after all, the president and is serving his last months of his presidency.

Sad, but true, I believe.

I know the question running in some of your minds is, where is Raila in all of this? Hasn’t the president made these nominations upon consultation with the PM?

From what I can tell by merely putting two and two together, and not based on any first hand or second hand or even third hand information, Raila has not objected to the appointment of Githu Muigai because he does not have a legal basis to do so.

The PM was successful in thwarting Kibaki’s efforts the last time he attempted to illegally nominate and appoint Muigai and the other allies to the various constitutional offices because Kibaki was clearly acting in violation of the constitution and the public was not going to stand for that flagrant abuse of power, unlike the past.

In this case, however, we are told the president consulted the PM before re-nominating Muigai.

The constitutional consultation requirement has therefore been satisfied, unlike the last time when Kibaki attempted to install Muigai without consulting the PM.

The requisite consultations having occurred, the PM either had to agree with the nomination, or object to it.

Having not objected, one can only conclude the PM did not object because he could only do so based on sound legal ground and one which Kibaki could ignore only at his own peril.

I see none this time around.

Githu is for all I know superbly qualified to be appointed AG.

None of what I say here is legal basis to oppose his appointment, let alone succeed in blocking it.

What I say here, however, is a moral basis to oppose his appointment which would be counterproductive for the PM himself to mount, given the fragile coalition we have and coming to a natural end, as it is.

Besides, if the PM doesn’t really care about the appointment, he can show Muigai the door, once he is elected president, if Kenyans give him the nod as expected, given the AG does not have security of tenure.

In other words, Raila comes out of this the statesman he is; why pick on fights that don’t improve the situation but make it worse?

As Kenney Rogers sings in the Gambler, “you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em.”

There are some battles not worth fighting.

Knowing how some of my readers misread what I say, let me reiterate what I say is merely an expression of an opinion and neither does what I say have anything to do with PM’s thinking or reasoning in all of this for I never know and don’t know what that could be.

Mine is simply an analysis, based on publicly available information.

I say this because many times, we express opinion and people automatically ascribe it to those we support, forgetting or ignoring the fact that the two are not always one and the same.

In sum, Kibaki’s nomination of Githu Muigai goes to confirm what I have been saying all along, and that is, ending tribalism is a tall order but I still have faith we shall slay the ugly animal sooner than later and, yes, I still have faith and believe Kibaki and our brothers and sisters from Central have a big role to play in this effort.

I continue to urge them to do just that.

Peace, Love and Unity

Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.


Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Politics


Tags: , , ,

5 responses to “The Meaning of President Kibaki’s Nomination of Prof. Githu Muigai As Attorney General

  1. kennedy bosire

    August 26, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    i like your articles, on the appointments of AG, Controller of budget and Auditor General both promoted tribal interests, Mrs Odhiambo is raila’s sister in law and according to the rankings conducted by the interviewing panel she was 4th ,Njiriani who topped the ranking is a kikuyu, i believe it is only Ouko the Auditor general who genuinely merited the job. I would pose one question, as a omugusii would you appoint another omugusii who genuinely qualifies for a position purely on merit? i want you to assume you are the kenyan president when you ponder on your answer.

  2. Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:38 AM


    Assuming I am president, I would certainly appoint a fellow Kisii who qualifies for the position in question.

    The problem is not in appointing a fellow tribesman or woman, but when tribe or degree of relation is the sole and controlling factor in the appointment.

    That, I’ll never do and neither should anyone.

    This is a different issue from the constitutionally mandated regional and gender balancing; we can have a regionally balanced scheme without tribalism.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Peace, Love and Unity

    Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

  3. Karolina Wangari Simmons-Gathu

    August 26, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Your points are all well-taken and very much appreciated! The big question remains: what have/had you yourself done to insure better advocacy and vetting for AG position? What have/had you done to encourage your own family, friends and other colleagues to do the same? My heart and soul is in Kenya, though I must presently deal with life in the USA. What specific recommendations do you have to help we “diaspora” to better “keep on top” of matters like the questionable Muigai appointment?

  4. Samuel N. Omwenga, Esq.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Sister Wangari,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You have raised very good questions, in response to which I can tell you this much:

    I have actually been lobbying privately, a number of my friends in Parliament and outside of it about this.

    Sometimes you are heard, sometimes you are not.

    That’s the nature of politics.

    As to the all important question what specific recommendations do I have to help us in the Diaspora to better keep on top of issues such as this, I have done many things in the past, some succeeded, others did not.

    I am in the process of putting together a small group of like minded (serious folk) to try a different tack and encourage you to be a part of it, based on what I can deduce from what you have said in your comment.

    If interested, send me an email privately at




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