Prof. Githu Muigai: How My Father’s Death Changed My Life

Prof. Githu Muigai is a Kenyan lawyer who served as Kenya’s Attorney General from August 2011 to February 2018.

The former AG was born at the famous Pumwani Maternity Hospital and spent the better part of his childhood in Nairobi where his mother worked.

Muigai also travelled to different parts of the country as a kid after his father landed a government job soon after Kenya got its independence.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Early Life

Muigai’s mother and father met at at King George Hospital, now Kenyatta National Hospital, where they worked as a washer and records clerk respectively.

They began their relationship and sired the former AG later on January 31, 1960.

“I was born in the native maternity hospital of Pumwani; lovely little place, still alive and well and kicking and many good men and women being born there today,” Muigai said.

Three years later, Kenya got independence and people like his fater who had gone through school landed government jobs.

“My father started off in trade unions, he was in the local government workers union and he rose to be a very agitating young man,” he added.

Muigai spent the better part of his childhood traveling around the country as his father attended to his duties in the Ministry of Labor.

All was well until his father passed away forcing her mother to chip in and take care of him and his siblings singlehandedly.

“11 years thereafter, my father passed on and a very dramatic thing happened because my mother was a housewife raising seven children,” Muigai stated.

With no work, his mother was forced to venture into tailoring having learned some sewing skills in a bid to provide for her children.

She set up a shop where, with his help, they would make school uniforms for school going children in the area.

“…from being the family of a civil servant, living in a good government house, going to school in a good government vehicle we now had to depend on my mother

“She got a Singer sewing machine and that is how she raised us in Kiambu Town,” Muigai said while talking on Engage Talk.

Muigai schooled in Kiambu under the care of his mother until later when he joined the University of Nairobi to study in the Faculty of Laws.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, the former AG enrolled at Kenya School of Law where he won a scholarship to study for a postgraduate degree in Law.

Muigai graduated with a master’s degree in international law from Columbia University School of Law.

“I enjoyed that, it was a good time, it opened my eyes and frog-lipped me 20 years ahead of my generation of lawyers and have me opportunities that I didn’t deserve,” he spoke on his experience abroad.

After studying abroad, Muigai returned home and became a teacher of law.

He later rose to work in government in different capacities including the defunct Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and at the United Nations as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Muigai also participated in the 2013 Kenya presidential election petition as Amicus curiae.

Although he was meant to be a non-partisan friend of the court, some believed his submissions were biased towards the winning party.

He is married to Margaret Waringa whom together they share three children.