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Kenya’s Attorney General Muturi says Ruto makes key decisions without consulting him

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Kenya’s Attorney General Justin Muturi has disclosed that his office is often excluded from pivotal governmental decisions, revealing a pattern that underscores several contentious actions during President William Ruto’s tenure.

In an interview with The Standard, Muturi defended his stance, asserting that he bears no responsibility for these decisions and stressed that he provides advice only when formally requested. He voiced his disapproval of actions such as deploying the military in civil contexts and the management of police responses to protests, which were carried out without consulting him:

“The deployment of the military to the streets was done without the advice of the Attorney General. I also can’t advise the police to go and shoot innocent kids in the streets.”

Muturi expressed astonishment at the establishment of the Presidential Taskforce on Forensic Audit of Public Debt, arguing that such audits fall squarely within the constitutional mandate of the Auditor General’s office. He cited Article 229 of the Constitution to support his assertion that auditing public accounts must be performed by the Auditor General or with explicit authorization from that office:

“Every year, the office of the Auditor General gives a report on public accounts. To audit a public body, you have to be the Auditor General or get authority from the office. Any other method is outside of the law.”

Regarding the role of his office as the principal legal advisor to the President, Muturi emphasized that they provide guidance exclusively upon formal request. He addressed concerns over the autonomy of his office, revealing instances where appointments and legislative matters pertaining to his responsibilities were advanced without his prior knowledge or consent:

“We are a State Law office and our client is government. We don’t advise on suo motto (not on our own accord) but when the advice is sought and that we have done. Sometimes we give some advice that some people regard as ‘a nasty advice that some people feel uneasy with but when it comes to law, there is no shortcut. For all the advice sought from us, 99.5 per cent has been taken.”

In February of this year, while appearing before the National Assembly Justice and Legal Affairs Committee (JLAC), Muturi highlighted how crucial decisions within his domain, such as appointments of senior officials and bills, are forwarded to Parliament without his approval. He advocated for the independence of his office, criticizing the Public Service Commission (PSC) for making appointments in his office without his awareness:

“While making a pitch for his office to be independent, Muturi said the Public Service Commission (PSC) had been making appointments of senior officers in his office without his knowledge.”

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