We had a Plan B for swearing Uhuru- Chief Registrar of the Judiciary

The fear of God is one thing that guides me in all aspects.

  • Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi speaking about what could have happened had Uhuru Kenyatta’s inauguration been rained off, her 30-year old chama and the court case she can’t forget
  • Anne Amadi holds two masters degrees, one from Boston University and another from the University of Nairobi

Did you rehearse how to swear in the president before the inauguration?

Yes. We rehearsed just the day before the inauguration. We started to plan the swearing in of the president immediately after the August 8 elections, but we stopped when the matter came before the Supreme Court.

We started again soon after the decision of the Supreme Court on November 20. There is a committee that deals with the swearing in of the president, ‘The Assumption of Office of the President Committee’ where I sit by virtue of my office.

There is also an internal Assumption Office at the Judiciary which is responsible for the plan.

The committee was responsible for the plans and progress of swearing in President Uhuru Kenyatta on November 28. The team carried out the planning.

You never sounded tense, yet President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto appeared like they had stage fright?

I did not notice that the President and the DP had stage fright. I was busy concentrating on the job at hand.

Both of them did not recite their oaths word for word…they skipped some words. Is that in order?

Well, yes they skipped some. Maybe I may not have been very clear reading the text. It happens sometimes. But what matters is the signed document.

President Uhuru held the Bible used by his father, first President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta in 1964. Where exactly is it preserved?

Some of those items, including the Bible used in the swearing in are well-kept and preserved. The Bible is kept at State House, not at the Judiciary.

Who keeps the pen President Uhuru used to sign his inauguration certificate? In America, such items are preserved for posterity…

I am aware that such items are preserved for posterity, including the pen. In our case,it is kept by State House. The pen that was used was not provided by us (Judiciary) but rather, by State House.

The Constitution stipulates that all presidents must be sworn in at a public place. What could have happened if the event was rained off…or the chopper that was circling the venue crashed into Kasarani Stadium?

I guess we would still have found a way to swear him. You are aware the Constitution has strict timelines on the swearing in of the president.

The swearing must adhere to those timelines. So, should anything of the sort happen, there must be a way of swearing in the president. There must be a Plan B.

 You once served as District Magistrate. iI there a case you can never forget?

Yes. There was this case where both parents had rejected their children. It happened that the husband divorced his wife and married another woman.

Similarly, the wife got married to somebody else. They both declined to take custody of the five children they had during their marriage.

And so, the mother took the children to their grandparents. But they too rejected to stay with their grandchildren. The grandmother argued that she had brought up her daughter and was now aged, too old to care for the children.

She was not therefore in a position to care for the children. That case traumatised me.

I recall the kids were taken to a children’s home at some point. Those days, children’s homes were not as developed and equipped as they are today.  I never got to know of the outcome as I was later transferred from Kisumu to Mombasa before the matter was settled.

Who are some of your law lecturers who taught or influenced you?

I hold two master’s degrees – one in criminal justice from Boston University and another in public international law from the University of Nairobi, where I was taught by two current Supreme Court Judges Justice Jackton Ojwang and Dr Smokin Wanjala.

Justice Ojwang taught me constitutional law, Justice Wanjala taught me land law, while Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai taught me jurisprudence.

I have found a lot of relevance in what they taught me.

But if there is somebody who influenced me during my training, it is one Ann Claire Williams, a senior circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and a former United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

I first met her while working at FIDA. She sponsored me for a teacher training on trial advocacy at a university in San Francisco in 2007.

What have you achieved so far as the Chief Registrar of the Judiciary?

There were some administrative challenges when I joined in 2014. But first I needed to understand what was taking place before introducing anything new.

Since then, we have worked on a number of standard operating procedures, including financial manuals, HR and procurement manuals, among others. We are keen on reducing audit queries and to some extent, we have been able to do that.

Our operating procedures are now clearer. Work planning processes are now more inclusive. 

What do you do for fun?

There is this chama that has been going on for over 30 years where I am a member. I love my chama because it is a place I go once every month.

We talk and discuss many things, right from our childhood manenos. The fear of God is one thing that guides me in all aspects.

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