I have a lot to write motivated by the ongoing Parliamentary vetting of the Judiciary and State Law Office nominees especially on the issue of morality vs professionalism. But let me first deal with, specifically, opposition against Keriako Tobiko taking up the position of Director of Public Prosecutions.
Since the establishment of the position of the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1996, holders of the office have received praise and criticism on an almost equal measure. Tobiko has not been spared these jabs but in my opinion, the problem was more the law governing the State Law Office and its structure.
And as the country is awaiting the appointment of a new DPP in line with the new Constitution, some Kenyans appear blind to the fact that the office of the DPP then and now is different.
The DPP falls under the executive and is the only office in this arm of government that enjoys security of tenure. Unlike before August 27, 2010, the DPP is now an independent office and can longer be viewed as an “assistant” to the Attorney General.
Things will be different for the incoming DPP and a person with relatively fresh experience of the reforms at the State Law Office stands a better chance of doing a good job. It is therefore not surprising that due to the importance of this office, the interview panel selected insiders as the top three candidates.
Tobiko has had a relatively quieter tenure than his predecessors but has also been one of the faces of the changes that are ongoing in the State Law Office. This is despite the differences between him and the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission over prosecutions.
While Ringera faulted Tobiko’s office for being too slow, Tobiko viewed the graft body as having failed to properly execute its mandate and being vulnerable to political manipulation. A position which I personally support.
Did you know that by mid-2006 Tobiko was increasingly sidelined, with high-profile cases such as the Anglo Leasing and Goldenberg scams being transferred to other desks in the AG’s office? And this can be blamed on the law which crippled the office of the DPP by putting it under the AG.
A lot of changes have gone on in the State Law Office and it was not surprising that the interview panel gave Tobiko a score of 87 as compared to 66 and 62 for the other top two candidates who are his juniors.
Previous DPPs have also had a rough time in the time in office and mostly due to what I mentioned earlier – poor structure and law governing the State law Office. The Constitution has changed all this now.
Some of the achievements in the State Law Office with Tobiko as DPP include:
- The development and gazettment of a legislative instrument and protocol for the testing and destruction of the 1.2 tonne cocaine haul (2006);
- The setting up and operationalization of the National Crime Research Centre (NCRC) (2007-2008);
- The establishment of the Multi-sectoral Task Force on the National Policy for the Operationalization of the Sexual Offences Act (2006-2007);
- The establishment, setting up and operationalization of the Witness Protection Unit/Programme/Agency (2006-2008);
- The establishment and operationalization of the Anti-Piracy Unit (APU), (2008)
- Initiation and preparation of crucial legislative Bills, namely; The “Plea Bargaining Act” (2008); The Mutual Legal Assistance Bill (2008); The Organized Crimes Bill, (2009); Amendments to the Witness Protection & the Sexual Offences Acts, (2007-2008); The Transfer of Prisoners Bill (2010-2011).
- The establishment in the Department of a Unit on Cooperation with the International Crimes Court (ICC)