Will Kenya Have a Female Attorney General at the State Law Office?

The fight for gender inclusion is far from over in Kenya, Africa, as many key dockets in Government remain a preserve of men 57 years since the country became independent.

Women in Leadership in Kenya must come together and demand inclusion either through affirmative action, qualification (many are educated, experienced, and well able), or election process.

This article sheds light on the Office of the Attorney General/State Law Office in Kenya located at Sheria House, within the same compound as the Office of the President at Harambee House.

Since 1963, men have walked in and out of the State Law Office but unfortunately, even in 2020, when Kenya has a Constitution that enshrines the 2/3 gender rule in the law of the land, no woman has served in that important office.

Serving Attorney Generals Since Independent Kenya
The first Attorney General was Charles Mugane Njonjo who served Kenya for 16 years, 1963 – 1979.
He was then followed by James B. Karugu who was in office for a short period, 1980-81.
He was quickly replaced by Joseph Kamere in 1981 until 1983.
It was Matthew Guy Muli who stayed long in office after the two, serving for eight years, 1983-1991.
Then, Amos Wako took the reigns of the important office for 20 years, 1991-2011, managing to sail through political regimes and upheavals.
In 2011, Githu Muigai took over as the AG and served for seven years, 2011-2018.
The country is today under the leadership of Paul Kihara Kariuki who started serving as AG from the year 2018.

Kenyans have not had the privilege of having a woman as Attorney General since independence despite the country having many qualified lawyers who can serve in the office.

The occupant of the State Law Office is nominated by the President, approved by National Assembly, and then appointed by the President. Maybe, Kenyans are yet to elect a President who elevates a woman to such a position through an appointment.

All Presidents in Kenya, since independence, have been male – Presidents Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Arap Moi, Mwai Kibaki, and Uhuru Kenyatta.

Facts about the Attorney General’s Office in Kenya
The Office of the AG and the Department of Justice is established under Executive Order No. 2 of 2013.
The Constitutional Mandate and functions of the AG are set out Articles 156 of the Constitution of Kenya and Office of the AG Act 2012.
The AG is the Government principal legal advisor.
The Executive Order No. 2 of 2013 also gave the AG more roles as he discharges the functions of a Cabinet Secretary concerning the Department of Justice.
The State Law Office and the Department of Justice are mandated to promote the rule of law and public participation.