“The same way new wine cannot be stored in old wine skins, it will be totally illogical to try and squeeze a transformative constitution within the suffocating straight jacket strictures of formalistic or positivistic interpretation”- Justice Patrick Kiage, 20/8/2021.
He was among the 7 court of appeal judges who threw out the Building Bridges Initiative recommendations appeal on constitutional changes. Justice Patrick Kiage demonstrated his charming acumen in law practice.
As he read his judgement, it was the heavy English vocabulary and sharp diction that delighted Kenyans who took the chance to share light moments on social media.
Kiage’s long practice of law has been guided by basic principles of brevity, boldness, creativity and courtesy as he revealed in a past mentorship event.
Age & Family
Kiage was born in Kisii county on 6th September 1969, meaning he is currently 52 years old. Details about his family remain scanty.
Kiage schooled at Alliance High School in Kiambu county before proceeding to the University of Nairobi from 1988- 1991 for his Bachelors of Laws (LLB). He was admitted to the bar in 1993.
He pursued a Masters of Law at the New York University of Law, specializing in public service law on human rights and criminal justice (2003-2004).
As captured in our previous article, judges of the court of appeal earn a minimum gross pay of ksh 655,875 and a maximum of ksh 1,122,759
The lawyer worked at the Kiage and Co. Advocates as a managing partner from 1997 to 2012 when he began working as a court of appeal judge.
For 13 years Kiage practised as a defence counsel lawyer in diverse scopes including criminal law and family law. He has previously tutored on criminal procedure and practice at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He has also taught at the Kenya School of Law.
Special Public Prosecutor at the Directorate of Public Prosecution
Kiage worked as a special prosecuting counsel for a 6 years stint that was on contractual basis. Notably, he handled a high profile prosecution of former Tinderet MP Henry Kosgey (2011) in which the politician was accused of shady vehicle importation deals.
Through an application, Kosgey submitted that Kiage had no legal capacity to prosecute the case because his contract had expired.
However, Kiage argued that the former industrialization minister was employing delay tactics and that his (Kiage’s) appointment had been done through an interview with the Public Service Commission (PSC). Kiage said his contract had been renewed.
Kiage began working at the court of appeal in November, 2012 and was among a 5 bench judge that upheld a high court decision to have elections results declared at the constituency level as final.
The judges threw out an appeal by IEBC on grounds that the election body was expected to vet its returning officers and therefore wouldn’t have to doubt their competency and honesty. On his part, Kiage said the high court did not commit any error in that it had the jurisdiction in determining the matter.
20th August, 2021 BBI appeal
Justice Kiage upheld the high court rulings on constitutional changes recommendations by the BBI team as being unconstitutional.
He argued that the proposed amendments amounted to dismembering of the 2010 constitution and in so doing ‘blasting a huge hole in it and creating a new constitutional order’.
Kiage said the process towards the clamor of constitutional changes was flawed as it was not initiated through popular initiative.
“To my mind, the president does not shoulder any obligation to initiate constitutional changes. He takes office under and in accordance with the constitution and his duty is to obey it,” he said.
The justice also submitted that the IEBC as constituted lacked the quorum to verify the collected signatures. Additionally, he raised concern in the matter in which various county assemblies hurriedly passed the bill without involving the common citizenry.
Sheria Sacco National Chairman
Justice Kiage is the current Sheria Sacco national chairman, a position he has held from 2016.