NAIROBI, Kenya Jul 31 – Members of Parliament on Tuesday rejected President Mwai Kibaki’s nominees to the National Police Service Commission and instead advised that the principals should submit fresh names for vetting.
Budalangi MP Ababu Namwamba and Joint Government Chief Whip Jakoyo Midiwo led the push to reject the names, by standing in solidarity with Prime Minister Raila Odinga who argued that President Kibaki, through his permanent secretary, Francis Kimemia, altered the agreed list just before it was presented to Parliament.
“This committee is not an appellate tribunal; such that a candidate that did not succeeded (or) for whatever reason was not short listed can come and to appeal to this Committee. This committee is expected to vet,” said Namwamba.
Midiwo added, “If a President can append a signature on a list and a civil servant changes that list and brings it to the other arm of government, hoping that MPs will be asleep, I think it’s criminal.”
Though the names got into the House first in March this year, there has been a delay due to differences between the coalition partners.
The principals had submitted to Parliament the name of Amina Masoud as chairperson and Esther Chui Colombini, Ronald Musengi, James Atema, Muiu Mutia and Mary Awuor as members. But the PM said that he and the President Kibaki had agreed on Johnston Kavuludi to be the chair, only for the President’s Office to change without consultation.
Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security led by Mt Elgon MP Fred Kapondi had rejected Masoud because she lacked qualifications, and instead recommended Jean Kamau to head the team.
“The issue of police reforms is very fundamental and negating this report means we are going back to square one and that would not be very fair. I want to plead for sobriety, let us give support to this Committee because time is of urgency and we need to move forward,” Kapondi said.
But MPs argued that it was upon the principals to pick the nominees and that the Committee could not direct the principals on who to pick.
Meanwhile, the coalition government seems to be speaking at cross purposes again over the nomination of members to serve in another crucial commission.
House Speaker Kenneth Marende said he has received two conflicting directions from the two sides of the coalition over the composition of the National Lands Commission.
Marende told Parliament that he received a later dated July 4 addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly advising the House that the President had in consultations with the Prime Minister nominated eight persons to the National Land Commission which included Muhammad Swazuri as chairman, Dr. Tomiik Konyimbih, Silas Kinoti, Rose Musyoka, Samuel Kipngetich, Abigael Mbagaya, Emma Muthoni, Clement Lenachuru, and Abdulkadir Khalif.
However, a few days later, Kimemia wrote to Parliament seeking to have one of the nominees dropped from the list and a new one join the team.
Marende said the Parliament subsequently received two letters one from the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Head of the Public Service replacing one of the nominees and the other from the Office of the Prime Minister contesting the replacement.
The Speaker directed that all the names of the nominees and the accompanying curriculum vitae and other documents relating to the nominees including the two divergent letters be committed to the Parliament’s Committee on Lands and Natural Resources for consideration and report back to Parliament by August 14th 2012.