I’d be matatu driver if not for my mother, says Uhuru’s top lawyer
Kennedy Nyabuti Ogeto, the man who is expected to be appointed Solicitor-General in the next few days, would be your matatu driver today had his mother not bothered with his secondary school education.
Mr Ogeto, the 55-year-old city lawyer, comes from a humble background. He narrated to the Justice and Legal Affairs committee of the National Assembly how he admired being a matatu driver at one time.
The committee, chaired by Baringo North MP William Cheptumo, was vetting his suitability to succeed Mr Njee Muturi as Solicitor-General following his nomination by President Uhuru Kenyatta almost two weeks ago.
Solicitor-General is the principal assistant to the Attorney-General and the accounting officer of the State Law Office.
Unlike the many other individuals vetted by MPs, including the cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries and envoys, Mr Ogeto’s presentation was one of its kind.
The committee was impressed by his presentation, with Mr Cheptumo saying that he had raised the bar.
The city lawyer, who has been in private practice for the last 27 years, detailed his academic and professional experience, and his vision and mission for the office.
As he detailed his experience to the MPs who were seated attentively, one thing came out.
“There was a time I wanted to abandon school but my lovely mother, Teresa Nyaboke, advised me against the move. She loved education and wanted her children to get the best,” narrated Mr Ogeto, the first born in a family of 12.
The son of a former teacher, the late Francis Ogeto, Mr Ogeto is currently the managing partner of Ogetto, Otachi and Company Advocates and also sits on the board of Kenya Ports Authority and Ecobank.
He assured the MPs that he will resign from the positions if his name is approved for appointment.
“My mother got very persistent when I told her that I don’t want to continue with school. She persuaded me consistently. Were it not for her, I would not be sitting before this committee today,” he said.
POOR SCHOOL ATTITUDE
His poor attitude started when he had just been admitted to Form One at Gekano Secondary School in 1978, then one of the best performing schools in Nyamira County.
His behaviour would not, however, let him go on with his studies even as his mother’s pressure to see her son through high school education intensified.
He wasted a year out of school. “I wanted to be a matatu driver because I just admired them but whenever I told my mother, she would not listen to me and never gave up. I would run away from school but she would bring me back. The fact that she never caned me, gave me time to reflect,” he said.
Just as many students would behave in their rebellious attitude, Mr Ogeto would indulge in a bit of smoking as well as drinking as the peer influence factor took a toll on him.
“I think I was in adolescent stage. But gradually, even though it took time, I struggled and managed. It was not easy, I saw the sense.”
Having lost the whole of 1979 out of school, he would be transferred to Menyenya, then a Harambee Secondary School within his locality, until 1982.
He achieved an exemplary performance, scoring Division One, an equivalent of Grade “A” in the current ranking system.
This performance would earn him a slot at Thika High School in Kiambu for his A- levels, from 1983 to 1984.
UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
He then joined University of Nairobi in 1986 to study law from where he graduated with an Upper Second Class Honours in 1989. In 2002, he obtained his Master of Laws degree from the same university.
Outgoing Attorney-General, Prof Githu Muigai, was his teacher. Was his nomination a reward because of his friendship to the President?
“I am a self-made person. I did not have any political patronage to lean on. It is hard work that has brought me where I am and I have always caught the eye of my clients through hard work, commitment and honesty.”
Mr Ogeto promised to transform the department into a 21st century organisation by digitising records as well as enhancing technology to ensure registration period of companies reduces to one or two days from the current more than seven days.
He promised to fight corruption and also to ensure that the office of AG is involved in all legislative processes.