By Judy Ogutu and Peter Opiyo
In the final months before its term lapses, it is now clear the disharmony in Grand Coalition Cabinet has found its way into the President’s party.
This was discernible on Tuesday as one wing of the President’s inner circle, led by acting Minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration, Yusuf Haji, went to court to defend the controversial appointment of 47 county commissioners by the President after the High Court nullified it.
Taking that the minister who holds the portfolio, which is directly under the Presidency and is housed at Harambee House, takes his orders directly from the President, it looked odd that as he appealed, the Attorney General who also reports directly to the President took the opposite view of the appeal.
The position of Prof Githu Muigai reinforced his earlier view that he had not been advised when the list was drawn, reportedly by acting Head of Civil of Service Francis Kimemia. The AG declared he would not appeal the ruling by a High Court judge that the President acted outside his powers and the appointments were unconstitutional.
Whereas the AG is not a politician, by virtue of his position as the Government’s chief legal advisor, it is assumed that on coalition affairs, he would stand by the President, remaining party to his decisions on management of public affairs.
On Tuesday it was another case of top Government officials washing their dirty linen, not just in public, but also in the courtroom. Muigai appeared before Justice Mumbi Ngugi and told her that the State would comply with her order annulling the appointments and would not appeal.
But Haji and acting Internal Security Permanent Secretary Mutea Iringo, who had appeared to defy the court by asking the commissioners to ignore the ruling, sent a private lawyer, Kibe Mungai, to represent them at the same proceedings where the chief legal advisor had ruled out appeal. Mungai countered the AG’s position and told the same judge that he was under instructions to appeal.
The move baffled Justice Ngugi, as she questioned Mungai whether the PS had an interest outside his position and therefore had to instruct a personal lawyer.
“Does he have capacity that entitles him to act independent of the AG and instruct counsel?” the judge asked.
Mungai responded by saying orders had been sought against Iringo and he was made a party to the case.
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