alexa New law to edge out Wako and CJ - Daily Nation

New law to edge out Wako and CJ

Sunday August 8 2010

Attorney General Amos Wako (left) is to retire by August 2011 while Justice Evan Gicheru has six months — up to February 2011 — to serve as the CJ. Photo/FILE

Attorney General Amos Wako (left) is to retire by August 2011 while Justice Evan Gicheru has six months — up to February 2011 — to serve as the CJ. Photo/FILE 

By OLIVER MATHENGE [email protected]

Chief Justice Evan Gicheru and Attorney-General Amos Wako will be the first highest ranking public officials to be retired under the new Constitution.

The CJ will be leaving after seven years in office, while Mr Wako will walk out of the State Law Office after 20 years of calling shots.

Former President Daniel arap Moi appointed Mr Wako the chief government legal adviser on May 13, 1991, while Mr Gicheru was appointed on February 21, 2003, after President Kibaki took office.

The Controller and Auditor-General, Anthony Gatumbu, is also set to leave office once the new law comes into force. Mr Gatumbu has been in office since January 28, 2009.

While most current office holders have their jobs secure until the first election under the new Constitution or when their terms expire, the AG, CJ and Auditor General have to leave within the first year.

According to the new law, Mr Wako and Mr Gatumbu are to retire by August 2011. The clause on their exit is contained in Article 262, which is the sixth schedule outlining the transitional and consequential provisions.

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Justice Gicheru has six months — up to February 2011 — to serve as the CJ, with the new constitution requiring that the President appoints a replacement.

Backlog of cases

However, the CJ has the option of allowing himself to be taken through a tribunal that will also vet all existing judges and, if cleared, will continue to serve as a judge of the Court of Appeal.

Justice Gicheru and Mr Wako have been accused of letting down the criminal-judicial system, leading to a massive backlog of cases. The AG has on several occasions been accused of failing to prosecute high-level cases, especially those involving corruption.

On his part, Justice Gicheru has been criticised for the poor performance of the Judiciary and the rampant corruption that influences the outcome of cases. Though not specified in the new Constitution, the jobs of Civil Service head Francis Muthaura and Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko also appear to be on the line.

According to the new law, the holder of the new Office of Cabinet Secretary, that will replace Mr Muthaura’s current post, must be approved by Parliament. As for Mr Tobiko, the new law says his roles will be taken over by the AG until a new DPP is appointed. This appointment has to be made by August 20, 2011.

President Kibaki will not have a free-hand in making the new appointments as has been the case. He is required to consult Prime Minister Raila Odinga and seek the authority of Parliament. Several commissions will also be established while others will be merged leading to loss of jobs.

For instance, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and the National Commission on Gender and Development will be merged, rendering several commissioners jobless.