, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 22 – Cabinet Minister Otieno Kajwang now says that the immigration officer in the middle of the airport saga involving the Chief Justice has not and will not be suspended, contrary to assertions by government spokesman Muthui Kariuki.
Kajwang told journalists in his office on Friday that the officer would not be used as a scapegoat for a crime he did not commit, instead shifting the blame to Head of Civil Service, Francis Kimemia.
The minister accused Kimemia of issuing a blanket directive on who required State clearance, adding that it would be unfair for the official to be forced to take the heat.
The officer is said to have attempted to stop Mutunga from travelling to Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania last Thursday, on grounds that the CJ did not have Kimemia’s clearance.
“My officer interpreted that circular the way it should have been interpreted. The person who wrote that circular is the one who should be blamed and he should stop politicising this issue,” he said.
The circular mentions Permanent Secretaries, Chairpersons and Members of Constitutional Commissions, Holders of Independent Offices and Chairpersons, Board Members and Chief Executive Officers of state corporations as those that should seek Kimemia’s clearance.
Capital FM News has seen another circular that has additions with a pen at the bottom exempting the Chief Justice and the Speaker of the National Assembly from the requirement.
“I have not seen the circular that mentions the CJ and Speaker,” said Kajwang.
He added that Kimemia should not have interdicted the officer to facilitate investigations, because he was not mandated to do so.
“Why should my officer be suspended? What crime has he committed? And if you want to suspend my officer, tell me; don’t do it by the roadside. Public servants are employed by the public service commission not by some amorphous security body,” he retorted.
Kajwang also took a swipe at Kimemia accusing him of embarrassing the government. He urged the Head of Civil Service to seek his office’s guidance before issuing such circulars.
“I was not aware of that circular because I would have advised that we make it clear. The government has different arms and you cannot make the Executive a supervisor of other arms of government,” he argued.
Attorney General Githu Muigai has also joined the debate saying he will formulate a policy setting out guidelines for international travel for chairmen of Constitutional Commissions and Independent office holders.
Muigai who spoke after meeting the chairmen of constitutional commissions and independent offices said that the framework will ensure that they only notify their line ministers of their travel.
Commission Chairmen, will however be required to clear their commissioners and members of staff who are travelling out of the country.
The policy is expected to remove immigration officials at the airports from the chain of those who are to be notified.