Civil society wants powers to name CIC trimmed

October 18, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 18 – Two civil society organizations on Monday faulted the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution Bill (2010) which empowers the President and Prime Minister to disregard the list of nominees prepared by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Transparency International and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) argued that section 8 (14) of the Bill undermined the spirit of transparency and fairness as it allows the two principals to send in their own preferred list to the National Assembly.

TI-Kenya Executive Director Samuel Kimeu said that the selection process should be free from any interference or manipulation by the Executive arm of government.

"This Bill gives the President and Prime Minister power to ignore the process that the PSC has gone through in terms of receiving applications and vetting them. That provision is not only mischievous but it negates the whole essence of having this process," he said.

The civil societies also called for the amendment of the chapter by Parliament, saying the President and Prime Minister\’s interference ought to be locked out.

"MPs must restrict the two leaders from presenting candidates who have not undergone the recruitment and nomination process by the PSC. They should also be forced to explain any reasons they might have for rejecting nominees given by the PSC," said Mr Kimeu.

He also proposed that Kenya comes up with a law that would guide and oversee the vetting process so as to ensure that it was done objectively.

"In this regard of course we note that a vetting law is important for us at this point in time and it actually needs to be fast tracked. It ought to be one of the laws that we priorities because all these appointments ought to follow a certain framework," he explained.

He further asked the select committee to ensure that all persons chosen to serve in the constitutional implementation commission were of integrity and upright moral standing. This, he argued would help the country realise its reform agenda.

"These regulations should for instance require applicants or nominees to submit clearance certificates indicating good conduct from the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, the Criminal Investigations Departments of any relevant bodies," he said.

Mr Kimeu also proposed that the vetting process create room for recalling candidates who were qualified as commissioners but whose character was later found to be wanting.

"There should be a provision that allows a candidate to lose their post if facts come up later proving that that person should not have qualified for that seat. In fact if a certain majority of the commissioners pass a vote of no confidence in their leaders, 

The civil societies also called for public participation in the process claiming that Parliament was not a good enough forum.

"We thought there would be room for greater public participation either through professional bodies or organized civil society groups or religious groups in order that the voice of the public can be properly represented because the public needs to be heard across board," he said.

The civil societies including the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) presented their concerns to the Parliamentary Constitutional Implementation Oversight Committee last week.

They claim that the Committee expressed willingness to address some of the issues raised through amendments.


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