Guy Muli: The tough judge who reformed Kenya's judicial system

Mathew Guy Muli was Kenya's fourth Attorney General for eight years, from 1981 to 1991. He is also considered to be one of the most distinguished jurists in Kenya. Born in 1929 in Sengani, Kangundo, in Machakos District (now Machakos County), Muli attended Sengani Primary School, then Alliance High School before proceeding to Makerere University in Uganda for a degree in law. He completed his university education in 1952 and then returned to Kenya.

He became a distinguished Kenyan judge, serving as Legal Counsel to the East African Community (EAC), Judge of the High Court, Attorney General, and Judge of the Court of Appeal.

Muli had served as a High Court librarian and interpreter before being promoted to legal advisor to the EAC. In 1971, he was appointed as a high court judge and he termed this development "welcome" although "unexpected" for him.

In 1983, he took over from Joseph Kamere as Kenya's fourth AG after being appointed by the then President Daniel Arap Moi. Kamere had served as Kenya's AG for two years. This was the time when calls for democratic space had begun gaining momentum in the country.

As the country's AG, Muli also served as the Government's Chief Legal Advisor in the eight years of his tenure. At the time of his appointment, Kenyans were badly agitating for reforms in the judicial system.

Muli did not disappoint as he seemed to meet people's expectations. He did his work with vigor and his achievements was applauded by many citizens. Guy Muli's achievements and impact on the legal justice system in Kenya are still noteworthy to date. They include accelerating cases involving inheritance by coming up with the Acceleration and Perpetuities Bill of 1985.

He is also behind the introduction of building and facilities bylaws to make it possible for the physically handicapped to access buildings, as well as increasing accessibility of birth and death certificates by creating an independent department to cater to the same.

Guy Muli died in 2004 aged 75 at Kangundo District Hospital after experiencing breathing difficulties.