|Member of the Kenyan Senate|
28 March 2013
1 January 1952 |
Kionyo Village, Kenya Colony
|Alma mater||University of Nairobi (LLB), (LLM)
Harvard Law School
Kenya School of Law
Kiraitu Murungi (born 1 January 1952) is a Kenyan politician.
Kiraitu Murungi was born on 1 January 1952 in Kionyo village, Abogeta division of Meru District in Central Kenya. He attended Chuka High School before proceeding to Alliance High School. Murungi graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in Nairobi University in 1977 and attained a Master of Law in the same university in 1982. He attained another Master in 1991 of Law at Harvard Law School where he served two years in exile in the United States at the heyday of Daniel arap Moi's one-party dictatorship.
Career in Law
Murungi was a partner in a law firm he founded together with Gibson Kamau Kuria, where he practised law for ten years. His biggest case during this tenure was representing political prisoners of the Moi government including Wanyiri Kihoro against the government itself. A case that is mentioned severally in Wanyiri Kihoro's book Never Say Die: The Chronicle of a Political Prisoner and resulted in the detention of Mr. Kuria in an attempt to cause the abandonment of the case, as well as a period in exile in various western countries for bothe Mr Murungi and Mr. Kuria.
Upon his return from exile, Kiraitu joined the struggle for multi-party democracy in 1990 as one of Kenya's "Young Turks." Murungi joined the newly formed Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD)following Kenya's return to multi-party politics in 1991. He was elected to parliament on FORD ticket during the first multi-party election in 1992, serving as MP for parliament for South Imenti Constituency, Meru. Kiraitu decamped from FORD when the party splintered in the aftermath of the demise of its leader, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, retaining the South Imenti seat during the 1997 general elections. As an opposition member of parliament between 1991 and 2002, Kiraitu served as the shadow Attorney-General and member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Anti-Corruption.
Murungi has been a member of parliament since 1992 and has formerly served as Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs and as the shadow Attorney General. In the 2002 Kenya General Elections he won the South Imenti Constituency MP seat for the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) party. After the Government's defeat in the 21 November 2005 constitutional referendum, he was appointed Minister of Energy.
In February 2005, Murungi apologised for making a remark which was criticised as trivialising both rape and corruption. He had said that criticism from aid donors of corruption in Kenya was "like raping a woman who is already willing".
Anglo Leasing scandal
He is one of the closest allies of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki. He has been accused of attempted cover-up in the Anglo Leasing Scandal, which he has earlier claimed that it was a "scandal that never was".
On 8 February 2006, the BBC World Service aired a conversation between Murungi and former Governance and Ethics Permanent Secretary John Githongo where he appears to be coercing Githongo to drop his investigations on the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He had promised that Anura Pereira would forgive a debt of KES 30 million owed by Githongo's father.
Murungi initially maintained that he would not resign his cabinet post despite the allegations of corruption. He claimed that he was innocent and that Githongo's reports are mere propaganda. On the recording, he has commented: "I have listened to the alleged tape recorded evidence. It is truncated, inaudible, insufficient and inadmissible to form any credible proof of the allegations being orchestrated by Mr Githongo" . On 13 February 2006, however, President Mwai Kibaki announced that Murungi had resigned to allow full investigation into the allegations. On 14 February 2006, a day after his resignation, Murungi has claimed that he played no role at all to cover-up the Anglo Leasing Scandal. He has blamed his woes on the politics of National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) and the media. However, it later emerged that President Mwai Kibaki had asked him to resign from the Government.
On 15 November 2006 he was reinstated as Energy Minister by Kibaki. He remained in that position in the Cabinet appointed by Kibaki on 8 January 2008, following the controversial December 2007 election.
Parliamentary Accounts Committee investigation
On 10 February 2006, Murungi issued a statement that was faxed to all Kenyan media houses questioning the intentions and motives of John Githongo, in the form of 36 questions. Among the questions asked is why John Githongo was recording his conversations with Government officials and whether he was a spy for foreign nations.
- WANYIRI KIHORO vs ATTORNEY GENERAL [THE COURT OF APPEAL AT NAIROBI (GACHUHI, MASIME & KWACH JJA) CIVIL APPEAL NO. 151 OF 1988 http://www.kituochakatiba.co.ug/wanyiri.htm
- Never Say Die: The Chronicle of a Political Prisoner By Wanyiri Kihoro Published by Michigan State Univ Pr, 1998 ISBN 9966-46-899-4, ISBN 978-9966-46-899-4
- The Human Rights situation in Kenya under the leadership of Moi, The Internal and external contexts of Human Rights Practice in Kenya, Korwa G. Adar, African Sociological Review 4(1)2000 p. 74-96 http://www.codesria.org/Links/Publications/asr4_1full/Adar.pdf, CODESRIA
- "Kenyan apology over rape remark". BBC News. 11 February 2005. Retrieved 2006-02-13.
- "The Big Question: Can the President Shake Off Men in the Eye of a Storm?". The Daily Nation. 29 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-13.
- "'Taped evidence' in Kenya scandal". BBC News. 9 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-10.
- "Kenyan minister 'not resigning'". BBC News. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-10.
- "Kiraitu: 'BBC Tape Not Credible'". Daily Nation. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-10.
- "Kenyan 'graft' ministers resign". BBC News. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-13.
- "Kibaki asked Kiraitu and Saitoti to quit". Daily Nation. 13 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-16.[dead link]
- Kibaki reinstates ministers after scandal, IOL
- "Kenya: Kibaki Names Cabinet", The East African Standard (allAfrica.com), 8 January 2008.
- "Minister Kiraitu's 36 questions to Githongo". Standard, Kenya. 10 February 2006. Retrieved 2006-02-13.[dead link]