Lawyer Anne Makori policing the police to enhance justice

Independent Policing Oversight Authority chairperson Anne Makori.


Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • My first job was at the Public Service Commission, in particular at the State Law Office but I was seconded to the Ministry of Labour as a Labour Officer I.
  • In 2000, I worked for African Banking Corporation (ABC) as a senior HR officer.

Mrs Anne Makori is the Chairperson of the Independent Policing Oversight Authority. She holds a Law Degree (LLB Hons) from the University of Nairobi, a postgraduate Diploma from the Kenya School of Law, a Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resource Management and a Masters in Leadership.

The mother of four is also a Certified Public Secretary (CPS-K), a Certified Professional Trainer and a Certified professional mediator.

She spoke to the Nation about her career path.

Briefly tell us about yourself, your childhood and family life

I was born Anne Kiratu. I'm the fifth born in a family of six siblings - three girls and three boys. I'm married to Mr Paul Makori and we are from Nyamira. We are blessed with four children, three girls and a boy. All of them are adults. The last born, a girl is a second-year university student. I also have two lovely grandchildren.

Education Background

I was born and brought up in the village where I also attended the local school – Wanjerere Primary School in Kangema, Murang’a County. I walked to school just like any other village girl, most occasions bare-foot. My mother was a primary school teacher in the village while my father was a civil servant, initially working with the Murang’a County Council.

Later, as my father progressed in his career as an administrator, we moved to Nakuru. He rose to become the Town Clerk in Nakuru before retirement. When I was in Standard 7 my father advised me to apply for admission Kabarak High School in Nakuru. I sat my O levels national examination there before joining Kapsabet Girls High School for my A levels.

I later joined the University of Nairobi for a Bachelor of Law degree.

Before joining the university, just like other students then, I had to go through the National Youth Service (NYS). The program was recommended by the government as a pre-university qualification.

I graduated from UON in November 1989 with a law degree and proceeded to the Kenya School of Law. I was admitted to the roll of advocates in March 1991.

Share with us your career journey; what has been the key driver of your career growth?

My first employer was the Public Service Commission, at the State Law Office but I was seconded to the Ministry of Labour as a Labour Officer I. That was in 1991. I can’t remember precisely the monthly pay but it was around Sh 6,000.

I loved working with the ministry. In fact, I chose the Ministry of Labour after we were informed that while at the State Law Office, we would be deployed to various ministries.

I chose the Labour ministry because of my interest in Human Resource issues. While at the university I had opted for Labour Law but we couldn't get quorum to form a class. I opted for others like insurance at the university and so the only way I could learn the Labour Law systems in Kenya was to work under the ministry.

While there I did what labour officers do; inspections, represented the government in labour disputes, handling workers' strikes... those kinds of things.

In disputes, the employer was represented by Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) while the employees were represented by the Central Organization of Trade Unions (Cotu) and the various trade unions. We were the arbitrator, the neutral party, which is the government.

I gained a lot of exposure in handling labour disputes ranging from collective bargaining agreements, solving disputes, handling strikes, overseeing elections of trade union officials as well as conducting inspections to ensure compliance with the Labour Laws.

I left the ministry in 1996 as a Senior Labour Officer because I needed to venture into HR. I then joined the African Retail Traders, an institution that was then a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC). I was recruited there to accomplish two major tasks - set up a legal unit and to support the HR functions.

I worked for ART until end of 1998, went back to college because I needed to get ready to transition to the private sector. I undertook a postgraduate higher diploma in human resource management.

After my postgraduate studies, I worked for African Banking Corporation (ABC) in 2000 as a senior HR officer. 

All this time I was doing legal work because of my legal training. But I had a passion and I still have a lot of passion for HR work.

I left the banking industry the following year to join the Standard Group as the legal and HR manager.

Key among my tasks at the media house was transforming it from an entity under Lonrho Group to an outfit that was now locally owned. It was further supposed to position itself as a major media house in terms of both print and electronic platforms. I was looked upon to help in that transformation – putting in place structures and systems that would professionalize the group and position it for growth.

Therefore, I worked with the team that transitioned Standard Group from the East African Standard to the present-day Standard Group. From 2001 to 2006, I was with the Standard Group.

Thereafter I joined Faulu Kenya. It was then a lending institution. It coincided with the time there was clamour to regulate micro-finance institutions. They were fighting to be regulated and to be licensed to take deposits, basically do micro-finance banking.

With others we worked towards ensuring that the regulations went through scrutiny and, the micro-finance Act was passed. Once it was accented to by the president on 1st December 2006, we then got on to the journey of transforming to a micro-finance bank.

The institution became a licensed fully-fledged micro finance bank.

It was a tough journey because Kenyans did not understand what deposit taking meant thus, we had to lobby and draft amendments to the act. Lawyers came from different micro-finance institutions and we worked on the amendments to the act so that the title could change from deposit taking institutions to micro-finance banks.

A year after joining Faulu I was appointed the company secretary, heading both the HR and Legal functions. That meant I sat in the institution’s Board.

It was while in Faulu that I undertook a Masters degree, majoring in business and entrepreneurship. When I joined Faulu we had 199 staff, at the time I left in 2014 we had 1,258-strong personnel. I also had more responsibilities as the General Manager in charge of legal, HR and business development.

Between 2014 and 2018 I teamed up with a partner and opened a private law firm.

At the same time, I went into politics and contested in 2017, in Nyamira. It was driven by desire for community service. The following year I responded to an advert in the local media that sought to fill vacancies in the IPOA Board.

After a rigorous and competitive process, that included interviews by the PSC and the vetting by the National Assembly, His Excellency. President Uhuru Kenyatta I was appointed IPOA Chairperson.

In September 2018, alongside other members of the Board, I was sworn in in a ceremony witnessed by the Chief Justice to serve for a six-year term.

I serve in other Boards too, as a way of giving back to the community. I serve in the board of Bible translation and literacy. Here we try to ensure that small community groups in Kenya to preserve their languages.

I also serve in the board of Kamiti Secondary School.

Who are the people or the relationships who were key in your career growth?

My spouse has supported me. But before my spouse there was my father. My biggest influence even to study law was my father. I wanted to be a respected administrator like him. Parents are strict but I would describe him as a strict disciplinarian. Not only in academic excellence but also on work ethics.

He told us, that when you get a job, you should do it because it’s a service, and he was very firm on that and he added that the service must be with humility.

Not to forget, by virtue of his position as an administrator, my father taught us the value for cooperation and collaboration when working with contemporaries in the government and other institutions.

Paul has been a strong support. You cannot run a family alone and you cannot grow in your career if you have too many issues back at home.  Including my current role, he has been very supportive.

Among other people who have influenced my career, gave me unique opportunities to grow, was Standard Group Managing Editor Tom Mshindi, at the time I was at the Standard. He was extremely supportive, gave me unique exposure, broadened my thinking and really challenged me to get to know the current at any time when you’re are thinking of doing business; To find out what is the best practice, the best practice, art of benchmarking against the best practice in whatever you do.

The other thing that has played a role in my life is my Christian life. It has shaped me positively. I also appreciate the President for trusting me with such a huge responsibility. It shows he has confidence in my abilities to lead IPOA and police oversight in Kenya.

What are the key decisions you took in your career?

Leaving the public service for the private sector was then a major decision. Especially because many felt that there was security, career wise, in the former, compared to the latter.

The other was to plunge into politics and to seek the topmost seat at IPOA. All these were decisions driven by my desires for community service.

It was a very deliberate decision to apply to be IPOA Chairperson. I was aware it was a heavy responsibility but I knew working within the necessary structures and in cooperation with the other stakeholders it was going to be possible.

Difficult as the decision was, IPOA’s second Board since the institutions’ establishment, under my leadership, has ensured that the bulk of backlog of cases that culminated from complaints from Kenyan, is being cleared progressively.

Furthermore, co-operating and collaborating with other institutions, State and non-State actors, investigation are being concluded faster to the satisfaction of all interested parties.

Your Current role and scope?

Leading a vibrant Board comprising of professionals with divergent expertise in criminology, law, security and policing matters, human rights and gender issues, medicine, alternative dispute resolution proficiency, among others. Above all with the ultimate aim of ensuring that Kenya has a professional police service that is transparent and accountable in its actions, to the people of Kenya, as provided for in the Constitution.

Any failures in your career life?

The only thing I know I should have done is to exit earlier to join politics. I stayed too long (away from community service, particularly politics) and didn’t believe in myself, that’s why I stayed.

What would you tell your younger self?

I would have ventured earlier to serve the people while at the same time pushing for an expanded space for women in participating in decision-making at all levels of governance.

Women have to work much harder to be noticed, but thankfully the president has realised that we add value. He has appointed a lot of us, especially when I look at the constitutional commissions, where the ration of men to women is 50-50.

What is your advice to the youth in Kenya?

Education still has its very enviable place in making communities better and prosperous, irrespective of the high levels of unemployment. The difference is big, in ideas and arguments between those who are learned and who are not, on how they seek to better the communities and the environment that surround them.

The youth should not give up, they should prepare themselves well and should not consider themselves leaders of tomorrow. They need to engage in things that influence today’s leadership.

The youth are the majority and they need to drive the agenda of today’s leadership and to reject the culture of handouts.

Use your vote to put in office the calibre of leadership that you believe will meet their worthwhile expectations.

Future Plans?To serve at IPOA to the best of my ability then go ahead and do what I love most – further attending to the communities on other callings.

ambuthia@ke.nationmedia.com; lmbuthia@ke.nationmedia.com

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