MPs break to allow Cabinet vetting
Members of Parliament (MPs) take a two-week break today to allow for vetting of Cabinet Secretary nominees by the National Assembly’s Appointments committee as some of those set to appear before it got a reprieve after their court cases were dropped.
The lawmakers have given themselves the break to enable the House team chaired by Speaker Moses Wetang’ula to focus on interviewing President William Ruto’s 22 nominees who will have to face the panel before their nomination is approved or rejected by the Assembly.
Some of them have been battling cases in court but will now appear before MPs with lesser burden as the Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji withdrew their cases over lack of evidence. Public Service and Gender CS nominee Aisha Jumwa is the latest beneficiary of the DPP’s magnanimity after her corruption case was dropped yesterday.
The DPP withdrew the charges yesterday under Section 87 (a) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).
The prosecution through Senior State Counsel Alex Akula informed Mombasa Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku that he was under instructions to apply for the withdrawal of charges for Jumwa.
Jumwa had been accused of embezzling Sh19 million from the Malindi CDF kitty.
Last week, Agriculture nominee Mithika Linturi, who was facing a rape case, got a reprieve after it was also dropped after the accuser withdrew the complaint.
Despite this, MPs have promised to interrogate the nominated CSs without fear or favour saying they will perform their roles diligently.
The speaker chairs the vetting committee. Other members are Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wah and minority counterpart Opiyo Wandayi. Others who will sit in the committee by virtue of their offices are MPs Nelson Koech (Belgut), Rahab Mukami (Nyeri County), Dido Ali Raso (Saku), George Murugara (Tharaka), David Gikaria (Nakuru East), Ferdinand Wanyonyi (Kwanza), Mary Emaase (Teso South) Rahim Dawood (North Imenti), Junet Mohamed (Suna East), Caleb Amisi (Saboti), Stephen Mule (Matungulu), Abdi Shurie (Balambala), Naisula Lesuuda (Samburu West), David Pkosing (Pokot South), Mishi Mboko (Likoni).
The Special House team will table a report on each nominee for scrutiny by the whole House.
National Assembly Leader of Majority Kimani Ichung’wa yesterday assured lawmakers that the President would not interfere with the approval hearings set to commence next week even as the opposition side threatened to reject individuals who do not meet various provisions of the constitution.
Ichung’wa told the lawmakers that unlike in the previous regime, Ruto will not put pressure on the members to approve the nominees but will instead allow them to do their work without interference.
In his communication, Wetang’ula further directed that the report on Cabinet nominees vetting be tabled on or before October 27 so that Parliament can debate and ultimately approve or reject some or all the names.
The vetting will take almost a month after lawmakers of the 12th Parliament changed the law on the vetting days of Cabinet secretaries from the initial 14 to 28 days.
And yesterday, Ichung’wa assured all persons who have submitted their memorandum against any of the nominees that they will be given an opportunity to appear before the committee to put up their case even as they give those named a chance to also defend themselves.
“We are within time to have this committee in time. For the nominees to take office, they are aware that they should go through vetting. It is this committee that will do the vetting. This is a crucial committee that will do the vetting, none of these CSs will take office until and unless they are approved and considered by these committees and approved by the house,” he said.
Ugenya MP Opiyo Wandayi, however, said the Assembly will not rubber stamp the names but will carry out the vetting as per the Constitution.
Gatundu South MP Gabriel Kagombe also asked the legislators to do a thorough vetting of the CS’s to ensure they meet the provisions of Chapter 6. Kacheliba lawmaker Titus Lotee asked the committee to take cognizance of the women nominees nominated as CSs.
He said: “The President followed the constitution when he named the seven women to sit in this committee. When we are considering these women for vetting, this committee needs to be humane in understanding them, they are only seven if one is rejected we will not get one thirds.” Other nominees with issues that might crop up during vetting are Prof Njuguna Ndung’u (National Treasury), Moses Kuria (Trade) and Davis Chirchir (Energy and Petroleum). Ndung’u might face questions over his tenure as the Central Bank of Kenya Governor.