NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 16 – Parliament on Wednesday rejected the reappointment of Justice Aaron Ringera as the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission (KACC) Director after a charged debate that saw some government ministers siding with those who were opposed to the appointment.
MPs agreed with a joint parliamentary committee report saying the President acted unprocedurally by overstepping the KACC Advisory Board and Parliament in the reappointment of Ringera and two of his assistants.
But according to legal experts, Parliament cannot force the President to rescind his decision and the move only sends a strong signal of displeasure by MPs in the way the Executive acted.
The only way MPs could have forced Justice Ringera out would have been to cut of funding to a KACC under him.
But Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta forestalled such a move when he withdrew the Appropriations Bill which was slated for debate before the Motion of adjournment was moved.
Earlier attempts by Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and Assistant Minister Peter Munya to bring an amendment to the report by deleting a section that called for annulment of the gazette notice that contained the reappointment were defeated by 86 votes to 45.
Pitching for the adoption of their report, Chairperson’s of the joint House Committees on Justice and Legal Affairs and Delegated Legislation Amina Abdallah and Abdikadir Mohammed said their recommendations should not be used as a supremacy fight between the two coalition partners.
“Every historical move requires responsibility. So Mr Speaker as today we are united in voting in this annulment, let it not be that next time we vote on an annulment of a procedural matter that we go back to our ethnic or political cocoons,” Ms Amina Abdullah said.
“This issue is not about the President. It is not about the Executive it is about this House Mr Speaker and today this House has a date with destiny Mr Speaker. As to whether this House will be up holding the rule of law or we are going to be plundering to alter of politics every time this nation requires serious leadership,” said Abdikadir who chaired one of the committees that made the recommendation.
In supporting the report, Defence Assistant Minister and Mwingi South MP David Musila said Justice Ringera had failed in his work and as such his reappointment should be revoked.
“Mr Musila said the only other option that the KACC Director has was, he should do his Excellency the President a favour and resign and allow Kenyans to select a person who is going to help this country move forward in the fight against corruption.”
Former Justice Minister Martha Karua also said the President failed to act procedurally in renewing Mr Ringera’s contract.
She blamed the President’s advisors for misleading him.
“Let’s not split the hair. On all fours the President failed to follow the right procedure,” the Gichugu MP said.
But Assistant Minister Peter Munya opposed to the report and said Justice Ringera will not get justice from the MPs because some of them are under investigations by KACC over graft: “Whatever debate that may go on here, Mr Ringera will never get justice from here because some of us are potential candidates for investigations.”
Parliament is now on recess until November 10.
Earlier there was outrage and condemnation over allegations of a trade off between Rift Valley MPs and their counterparts from Mt. Kenya region over Justice Aaron Ringera’s reappointment and the Mau conservation report.
Central Kenya MPs are said to have agreed to a Mau report that compensates all title holders in exchange for Rift Valley MPs to back Ringera’s stay at the KACC.
The Law Society of Kenya Vice- Chairman James Mwamu said the action has demeaned Parliament and is likely to erode respect accorded to the institution by members of the public.
“If members sink that low in a matter as serious as these, then even us we are ashamed to be members of this country. These are the people we have elected and it means many of our MPs do not have conscience,” Mr Mwamu said.
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Florence Jaoko urged politicians against engaging in such deals saying they erode the dignity of their offices and encourage impunity.
It was illegal what President did and it would be very unfortunate if MPs who make law condone illegalities,” she said and added that the Mau issue is
But, Government Chief Whip George Thuo in a personal statement before Parliament dismissed the allegations as baseless and said that the MPs from Central Province were discussing other issues.
“It is not right to purport that these was about making deals. I was there throughout and at no time, Mr Speaker, did I hear discussion on any deal to do with Mau or Ringera,” Mr Thuo said.