Expert calls for law to govern vetting

October 28, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 28 – Members of Parliament have been asked to enact a vetting law which would ensure due diligence to the selection process in public appointments.

Lawyer Njoki Ndung’u who was a member of the Committee of Experts on Constitutional Review said on Thursday that there must also be clear rules that allow for public participation.

“It is an urgent issue and should have been one of the first Bills that Parliament should have considered, looked at and passed so that when the names come to Parliament, there is a process by which the names go to a certain committee, the public is informed that the House has received some names and it can be invited to make comments on any of the names,” she explained.

“But Parliament should be able to verify the comments because they would not know about some of the things regarding the people in front of them,” she said.

Ms Ndung’u said that there had to be a clear structure as the country awaits more appointments like that of the Chief Justice, Commissions on Implementation, Salaries and Revenue Allocation

She said currently, vetting was not structured which meant it was not clear on what grounds Parliament could confirm or reject a candidate.

“There needs to be a law that says that before someone appears before the Parliamentary Select Committee, they have filled a form that asks them all the questions; like do you have cases in court, have you been an official of a political party so that when the person comes before the committee it will have had time to verify the questionnaire,” she said.

At the same time, Ms Ndung’u expressed concern that Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) were no longer aggressive in ensuring the implementation of the Constitution.

She said CSO’s had stopped monitoring Parliament and described it as worrying.

“Why isn’t the civil society moving and we have given you the tools to work? You are sitting as if those tools have not been given to you and it worries me…why aren’t you watching the institution you are supposed to be watching?” she posed as she addressed a group of civil society representatives.

She advised the CSO’s to stop partisan politics so as to retain the confidence of Kenyans.

“And we must have honesty in our agenda. A lot of people in the civil society pretend to be non partisan when we all know they are partisan. I would rather we all say so that we all know which civil society falls on which side but we like hiding and with such dishonesty you cannot deliver your agenda even among the politicians on the side which you are leaning,” she said.

Meanwhile the former legislator also noted that a majority of the people still holed up in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps were women and children.

She said this was despite the government having carried out “Operation Rudi Nyumbani” which was aimed at encouraging those displaced during the post 2007 election crisis to go back to their homes.

She said majority of the women lacked proof of ownership of the land they lived on.

“There are some very gender-specific issues happening but the policies are not reflecting this and it is very sad,” she said.

Ms Ndung’u said there was no need to translate laws and policies into action to cater for this and other problems affecting women and called on CSO’s to be insistent on this.

“Sexual harassment is rife everywhere and yet it is against the law and we need to deal with it,” she said.


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