Thursday, May 26, 2005

Must Amos Wako Go?

Onyango Oloo Adds His Ndururu Saba to a National Clamour

By the way, before I say anything further, let us remember a famous speech that

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta delivered EXACTLY 42 years ago when KANU won the FIRST multi-party elections that paved the way for Madaraka(Self-Government) a few days later on June 1, 1963. Here is that memorable speech. Perhaps we can use it as a yardstick to measure how far the various KANU regimes of Kenyatta, Moi and now Kibaki have moved or not moved in delivering their lofty promises to the Kenyan wananchi.

Next, let us hear some more eloquent words from one of the most articulate members of Mwai Kibaki's cabinet:

Ladies and Gentlemen, lawyers occupy a special place in society. They are the custodians of justice and thus have a unique role in shaping the destiny of any society. It is therefore critical for all of us who share in this noble profession to maintain the highest standard of nobility in all our undertakings…I would also like to encourage organizations and individuals in the voluntary sector to jealously guard the rule of law through all our actions. Let us maintain sobriety and carry out all our activities beyond suspicion.

Amos Wako, [speaking at the official launch of Chambers of Justice held at the gala dinner hosted at the

Grand Regency Hotel in Nairobi's Central Business District on the evening of Wednesday December 4th 2002.]

In the hullabaloo and brouhaha sparked off by the kafuffle following in the wake of the startling termination of capital charges against a member of one of Kenya’s most prominent elite families, one’s ear drums are almost punctured by the cacophonous din clamouring for the head of Amos Wako, the current Attorney General of Kenya, who like a pair of mitumba shoes, was handed down from the previous Moi-KANU kleptocracy to the current Kibaki-NARC slothocracy.

“Wako Must Go!” is the frustrated Kenyan war cry ringing from Pwani to Chepkube since the office of the AG has tenure and the individual occupant not so easily ejected because of political expediency.

Last night a Kenyan sister living in Britain entreated me to write a digital essay calling for the removal of Amos Wako.

This digital essay is definitely about Amos Wako, crime and punishment;later I end up touching very slightly on the cross-cutting issues of race, ethnicity and class.

I am not sure I will join the baying mobs licking their hungry lips even as they sniff Wako’s blood and preview his head being politically detached from his professional career through mounting public and nation-wide pressure.

“Wako Must Go!” “Wako Must Go!” “Wako Must Go!”
I hear many Kenyans shout.

Must Wako Go?
Why Must Wako Go?
Wako Must Go?
To be replaced by Nani bin Fulani?

And if he goes, who comes to take his place?

Remember before Wako we had Muli, Kamere, Karugu and Njonjo.

What difference did they make in terms of legal reforms, social justice and the rule of the law?

Sir Charles Mugane Njonjo, Kenya’s longest serving Attorney General (1963-1980) was notorious for his shoot to kill dictums and the way he summarily deprived hundreds of Naivasha prison inmates their right to a one third remission of sentence. We also know the dastardly political role he played during the Kenyatta and Moi era before he fell out politically with the latter(while continuing to do business with him to this day); Joseph Kamere (1981-83) was a by-word for professional incompetence while Justice Guy Muli perfected the art of toadyism and slavish abeyance to the whims of the powers that be. Some people argue that Kenya’s most principled Attorney General was actually James Karugu who not surprisingly holds the record for serving the shortest stint(1980-81).

For more historical background about this hot potato public office and its various bearers, click on this link to read this excellent piece by Tom Maliti.

Before we comment further on Amos Wako, let us look at his actual job description.

Here it is in full.

Let us zero in on this section:


To advise the Government on all legal matters for purposes of facilitating and monitoring the rule of law, protection of freedoms, democracy and efficient delivery of legal services.

Principal legal advisor to the Government in relation to the matters set out herein below:
• Constitutional matters, by advising on appointment to constitutional offices, interpretation of the constitution in the government, and guardian of the constitution.
• Advising on all prosecutions matters, undertaking all criminal prosecutions and representing the state in appeals and revisions.
• Undertaking civil litigations involving government and its agencies.
• Undertaking drafting of bills, subsidiary legislation, notice of appointments to state corporations, constitutional offices and public offices.
• Supervision and maintenance of legal standards and ethics by ensuring that advocates conduct themselves professionally and that standards of legal services rendered to the public are improved and maintained.
• Registration services by undertaking duties of Registrar of business names, chattels transfers, adoptions books and newspapers, building societies, business companies, deed of arrangements, hire purchase agreements, legitimized persons, limited partnership, marriages, societies, trade unions and college of arms.
• Performing duties of official receiver, bankruptcy and company liquidation and the copyright office.
• Administration of public trustee services through deceased persons estates and minor trusts, the proper administration of wakfs under the wakf commissioners, management of custodianship of enemy property during times of war and affairs of persons who are adjusted mentally incompetent.
• Provision of free legal aid to public servants in the course of their duties and accessibility of justice to the poor who cannot afford the services of a lawyer.
• Legal advice to the Government and its agencies on Commercial Contracts, Agreement, International Treaties and Conventions
• Copy Rights
i. to provide efficient, comprehensive and competent advice to government and its agency,
ii. to create a conducive legal environment and suitable system for maintenance of law and order which is attractive to socio-economic development,
iii. to facilitate promotion of law abiding culture for a cohesive society,
iv. to provide legal aid,
v. to undertake research into crime and delinquent behaviour

I am very much fascinated by the Mission Statement of the Attorney General’s office:

To advise the Government on all legal matters for purposes of facilitating and monitoring the rule of law, protection of freedoms, democracy and efficient delivery of legal services.

For the next few paragraphs I want to use this mission statement as a litmus test to see if Amos Wako has failed to execute his professional obligations as our country’s Attorney General.

I am sure only less than three people will raise their eye-brows in astonishment to see me zooming on the two high profile CRIMINAL cases of the two notorious, armed and dangerous suspects- Young Thomas and Mama Jimmy.

Let me pose the maswali immediately:

When he ordered the termination of the cases against

Thomas Cholmondeley and

Lucy Kibaki was Amos Wako giving the BEST advice to the Government and people of Kenya for the purposes of facilitating the rule of law, protection of freedoms,democracy and efficient delivery of legal services in this country?

The simple and obvious answer is a resounding OF COURSE NOT!


Let us start with the Lucy Kibaki outrageous assault on KTN Camera Person

Derrick Otieno (memo to Clifford, please be proud of your African heritage and use more of your African names). Here was an Open and Shut Case of Grievous Assault perpetrated in public and carried on national television and news outlets around the world. The Nairobi Chief of Police was a material eye-witness who was standing by as the First Lady went on her violent rampage. If the proper procedures were followed, Lucy Kibaki would now be practicing songs with the women’s choir at the

Lang’ata Prison. Instead, Amos Wako moved swiftly to crush the case after some courageous souls had decided to bring a private prosecution simply because the state refused to arrest the President’s wife.

In terminating that case, Amos Wako violated almost every word in that two line single sentence mission statement for the Attorney General.

By terminating the Lucy Kibaki case, Wako DID NOT facilitate and monitor the rule of law- on the contrary he was an accomplice to the breaking of the law by Lucy Kibaki; he did NOT protect any freedoms-on the contrary he condoned the obscene and pornographic attack on press freedoms happening on World Press Day of all days in the year; he certainly did NOTHING to defend the democratic gains Kenyans had won in the long struggle against the KANU dictatorship- on the contrary, his nolle prosequi trumpeted the arrogance of the powerful elite; and to say that Amos Wako supervised the “efficient delivery of services” by throwing out Derrick Otieno’s case is to unleash one of the sickest jokes in Kenya this year.

Let us apply the same litmus test to the termination of the Murder Case against the trigger-happy Soysambu heir.

How could Amos Wako be facilitating the rule of the law in Kenya when he usurped the powers of a duly constituted of law and undermined the credibility of the police and other investigating officers while essentially rubber stamping the cold blooded assassination of a Kenya government employee who was diligently following up on leads about illegal trafficking in game meat? How could he be protecting the freedoms of Kenyans when he valorizes the personal freedom of Young Thomas over the democratic rights of Sisina’s family to see justice done and the killer of the KWS ranger made to take responsibility for his criminal actions? What democracy is being upheld by a state that clobbers innocent, unarmed and peaceful demonstrators protesting the termination of the murder charges? To whom does Amos Wako efficiently deliver legal services- to the Kenyan taxpayers and voters who are his actual employers or to his class brothers and sisters like Lucy Kibaki, Thomas Cholmondeley and dare I add- Nicholas Biwott, George Saitoti, Daniel arap Moi, Chris Murungaru, David Mwiraria and Julius Sunkuli?Incidentally talking of race, class, murder and crime and punishment in Kenya, it may worth your while to click on the link to hear from Paul Nakware Ekai the killer in

that other high profile murder case that pitted Black and White in Kenya. Here is another link about the same incident.

And one cannot touch this subject without referring to the notorious Sundstrom case that you can read about via this link.

Why didn’t Amos Wako enter a nolle prosequi in

David Makali’s and John Chemweno's case?

How come there are STILL cases pending against various members of the Kenyan human rights community for democratic campaigns against the Moi-KANU dictatorship?

Sticking strictly to the terms stipulated in the job description posted at the Attorney General’s web site, one can say without fear of exaggeration that Amos Wako has been a DISASTER as AG-just like his predecessors.

I sympathize with those calling for his immediate removal from office.

However, I must RESPECTFULLY DECLINE to jump on their bandwagon labeled Wako Must Go.

There will be exactly NADA effect if Wako is yanked today, tomorrow or next week. As the Americans say, same shit, different pile.

Now it is not exactly a closely guarded secret that

Paul Muite and others of his ilk have been LUSTING and COVETING that office for quite a while now- and you notice I invoke the

Ten Commandments with conscious and deliberate irony.

So would Muite be different from Wako? Without a DOUBT.

He would be WORSE!

Why do I say that? It is because Amos Wako, for all his failings as the Chief Law Officer in the country has the saving grace of not having a devious personal agenda beholden to this or that ethnic conglomeration. I have never heard or seen anything credible to suggest that Wako is linked to either the Mount Kenya Mafia, the Rift Valley Mafia, the Got Ramogi Mafia or the Ingwe Mafia(if it exists). That partly explains the ease with which the Kibaki team retained him from the Moi administration. As for Paul Muite it is clear as mud that he would see the AG’s office as properly belonging to him personally as the person who inherited Njonjo’s old parliamentary seat. I could make the SAME IDENTICAL CASE for other would be “political” candidates from other parts of the country like Nyanza, Western, Rift Valley, Central, Eastern, Coast, North Eastern.

In any case, that is hardly the point is it- I mean whether Wako should Go or Muite come in.

The whole rot in the Kenyan judiciary, rule of law, justice etc has to do with one bottle-neck: the failure of the Kibaki regime to provide Kenyans with the democratic constitution that NARC promised in 2002.

You know who should go?


Twataka Katiba Mpya Ala!!

Onyango Oloo

No comments: