Kenyan Attorney General Githu Muigai resigned after a six-and-a-half year tenure marked by missteps including changing the country’s electoral law before a disputed presidential vote.
President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated Appeals Court President Paul Kihara Kariuki as Muigai’s replacement, according to a statement on his Twitter account. Kenyatta also moved Solicitor General Njee Muturi into the presidency as deputy chief of staff, and proposed Kennedy Ogeto as his replacement.
Kenyatta’s administration faced a series of legislative setbacks under Muigai’s watch, including having parts of the Security Laws Amendment Act of 2014 declared unconstitutional, and the legality of a Constituency Development Fund challenged in the Supreme Court. In October, Muigai oversaw changes to voting laws that the US and European Union said undermined free elections in Kenya.
“It was just a matter of time” before Muigai left, said Herman Manyora, a political analyst and lecturer at the University of Nairobi. “His performance has been wanting, his advice has been wanting. A lot of unconstitutional laws were passed under his watch.”
Kenyatta’s nominations of Kariuki and Ogeto suggest he’s surrounding himself with loyalists as he seeks to secure his legacy in his final term, Manyora said. His proposals for three new members of the Judicial Services Commission, which recommends the appointment of judges to the president, indicates he may carry out a threat to overhaul the judiciary, the Nairobi-based Star newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Kenyatta criticized the judiciary after the Supreme Court annulled a presidential election held in August, labeling the decision a “judicial coup” and calling the judges “crooks” as he pledged to “revisit this agenda” at a later stage. He won a second term in a rerun vote held in October that was boycotted by the opposition.
The main opposition National Super Alliance has refused to accept the outcome of both votes.