The dramatic and unexpected exit of Prof Githu Muigai from the State Law Office marks a major twist in the composition of the new Cabinet to serve in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s final term.
Details are scant about the sudden resignation but there must be political underpinnings to it.
It is not lost that the changes at the State Law Office happen simultaneously with those at the office of the Director of Public Prosecution, whose occupant Keriako Tobiko, quit last month and was subsequently appointed to the Cabinet.
Prof Githu’s departure puts a spotlight on the Attorney-General’s office, especially at this time when the government is facing serious questions about adherence to the rule of law.
In recent weeks, various government officials have been censured for flouting court orders, raising questions about their commitment to legal processes.
The new appointees to the State Law Office, Judge Paul Kihara, who has been nominated for the AG’s office, and Mr Kennedy Ogeto, who becomes Solicitor-General, have real task to spearhead legal reforms and ensuring respect of the Constitution.
There are pieces of legislation that require review to accord to the Constitution and which they have to prioritise once they get to office.
In particular, they must make a statement to the Executive to respect the law and independent institutions.
They need to stand firm to resist political interference and be protectors of statutes.
Justice Kihara is a renowned legal mind, having served in various capacities in the Judiciary and played instrumental roles in initiating reforms in the institution.
Being a judge, he must be in the frontline of defending the Judiciary from political and Executive attacks.
He must push for the doctrine of separation of powers.
Justice Kihara and Mr Ogeto have a chance to make a difference by strengthening the office, sticking to the law and steering away from partisan practices that undermine the independence of the institution.