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No let up between Kibaki, PM in nominees row

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 9 – A hearing by the parliamentary committee on Legal Affairs which is looking at the legality of recent appointments to constitutional offices has been told that it was Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was against advertising the jobs.

The Head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura said that the Premier\’s Chief of Staff Caroli Omondi and legal experts appointed by the principals were opposed to a proposal to involve the Judicial Service Commission to advertise the posts arguing that it was not necessary during the transition stage.

He recalled Mr Omondi asking "why they wanted to take power out of the hands of the principals" by advertising the jobs during a January 6th meeting.

Mr Muthaura also maintained that the list of nominees was formulated after \’serious\’ consultations between the two principals.

"Definitely what the President wants is for you to adopt these names, that would push the agenda for the reforms forward and that is very important," he said.

The two principals have been locked in a dispute over the nomination of Justice Alnashir Visram as Chief Justice, Githu Muigai as Attorney General and Kioko Kilikumi as Director of Public Prosecutions.

The PM\’s Chief of Staff contradicted Mr Muthaura and said there were no consultations. He told the Legal Affairs committee that the PM felt the process was rushed for the purpose of proving to the AU that Kenya was committed to establishing a local judicial mechanism to try perpetrators of the 2008-post-election violence.

He said the president\’s list should be ignored and the posts be subjected to public applications through the JSC and open bidding for the Controller of Budget.

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"There was not subsequent meeting between the principals to discuss that list even the mere fact that list have Kilukumi\’s name and Kirwa name unless we take consultation to be notification exercises.  We cannot say that was consultation," he asserted.

The Legal Affairs committee is evaluating the three judicial nominees and is expected to table its report in the House tomorrow.

Meanwhile, members of Finance Committee have accused the Commission on the Implementation of the Commission of attempting to hide the truth and attempting to protect their kinsmen.

Committee members wanted the Commission to give their opinion whether consultations were done before the appointments to the judicial and budget office.

Chairman Charles Nyachae said the process is beyond their mandate.

Joint chief whip Jakoyo Midiwo and nominated MP Musikari Kombo also accused the CIC of being part of the problem for failing to give their opinion, being a constitutional body.

Mr Nyachae  argued that even after a meeting president Kibaki and Prime minister Raila Odinga on separate occasions, they were not able to tell whether there were consultations or not.

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