The nominee for the position of Attorney General, Justice Kariuki Kihara, has pledged to ensure the three arms of government work in harmony for effective service delivery to citizens.
Speaking during his vetting by the National Assembly Committee on Appointments yesterday, Kihara said if approved for the job, he would foster dialogue, collegiality, and enhancement of goodwill even when the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary differ in opinion.
He was responding to MPs’ queries on persistent stand-offs pitting Judiciary and the Executive on one side as well as Judiciary and the Legislature on the other.
“The tension that we have been having is healthy in that it ensures there are checks and balances. However, one arm of government should not act in a way that completely disables the other’s mandate, that is not the spirit of the Constitution,” he told the committee chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi.
Kihara, who is the Court of Appeal president, was also hard-pressed to explain how he would perform his role as principal legal advisor to government. He pledged to ensure all court orders are obeyed while also ensuring the Judiciary strictly follows the law.
“There can be no question that an order of the court should be obeyed. But Judiciary must also act in the spirit of the Constitution. There is no such thing as absolute separation of powers,” he said.
“The bottom line for Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive is service delivery to Kenyans, that cannot be done independently. We have to talk and work with each other.”
Majority Leader Aden Duale and his Minority counterpart John Mbadi put Kihara to task to explain his role in a Court of Appeal ruling which overturned a decision of a lower court that had found the appointment of IEBC returning and presiding officers irregular in the run-up to last October repeat presidential election.
But he defended himself, saying he did not have any direct role to play in the case.
Kihara, who has been a judge for over 15 years, described himself as a God-fearing man grounded in family values, adding that he was well-placed to face the challenges that come with the AG post.
“I have prayed about all this and I believe I have been called by God to serve the country. If we all bury our heads in the sand and run, who will do the job?” he posed.
Muturi sought to know how Kihara would ensure the government does not continue pouring money into legal fees of a cartel of lawyers bent on fleecing taxpayers.
Kihara responded: “I have been under tremendous pressure from people in high offices before, but I have never taken a bribe. My strength comes from the conviction that justice must be served.”