, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 13 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday came under criticism from Members of Parliament who accused it of nepotism in the recruitment of staff at Kenya’s missions abroad.
Minister Moses Wetangula however denied the accusations saying recent appointments were not made on familial ties but on professional qualifications.
“I’m not the appointing authority (it is) the President in consultation with the Prime Minister. If as minister I have any name to propose or a name has been proposed, it would be improper for me to ask: whose wife are you (or) whose husband are you because we are looking at the qualifications of Kenyans,” he said.
Gichugu MP Martha Karua said appointments were in contravention of the Public Officers Ethics Act.
“The Prime Minister is on record telling this House that they are going to fight nepotism in government and that was during the Public Service Week last year. And even though it is not wrong to appoint a qualified relative, if there’s pattern of appointing cronies of members in the Executive, it would be contrary to public policy,” she said.
In his defence, Mr Wetangula tabled a list of 37 people who were recently appointed to ambassadorial positions and emphasised that the current provisions of the Constitution call for transparent and fair selection criteria.
“The new laws make it very difficult to have an overlap of appointments from one region against other regions. In any event, this House will approve any appointment and it will look at the ethnic, regional and any other factors that will balance the appointments,” he said.
Keiyo South MP Jackson Kiptanui also questioned the legitimacy of Mr Wetangula’s list saying it seemed to favour members of certain ethnic backgrounds.
“From my own analysis, out of the 37 names, 12 come from one region and another 10 come from another region. So it is like it is not representing the face of this country,” he said.
Ms Karua further alleged that some of the PM’s kin had been irregularly appointed as Heads of Missions in various countries.
“I know that from this list, there are at least two relatives of the PM. They may not be the only ones and these two were given assignments in Los Angeles (LA) and in Washington,” she claimed.
Mr Wetangula however challenged the MPs to go through the professional qualifications of the chosen candidates and raise questions if they felt that they were under qualified.
“To defend the person of the PM, when you look at the representative of this country in LA that is Wenwa Akinyi Odinga, you will realise that she is immensely qualified. The man in Washington does not carry the name Odinga or Oginga and I’m not sure he’s related to the PM,” he said.