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PSC competent to vet nominees

NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 23 – Constitutional Affairs Minister Mutula Kilonzo has asked Prime Minister Raila Odinga to stop playing \’politics\’ on the fresh nominations of the Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget.

Reacting to the PM\’s statement issued on Tuesday that the Public Service Commission should be reconstituted before undertaking the vetting, Mr Kilonzo now says the proposal is not necessary at this time.

"The PM, from a political view not a legal, may be objecting to the PSC from that angle, but I think there comes a time when they must reduce the nature and quantity of politics that you subject the country," he said.

Although Mr Odinga welcomed the decision by President Kibaki to withdraw his list of nominees to four constitutional offices and reopen consultations, he nevertheless, called for the reconstitution of the Public Service Commission to which the President referred the nomination of Director of Public Prosecutions and Controller of Budget.

The PM said the 16 member commission was not properly constituted in accordance with the Constitution and said the interviews should instead be conducted by a competent panel of experts.

He said that Mr Odinga cannot condemn the PSC, as it was the same commission that vetted those sitting at the Commission on the Implementation of the Constitution and the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

"I want to plead with the PM, and when I see him I am going to tell him the same thing, that as long as the process is transparent and involves public participation and all the applicants and shortlisted candidates are advertised on the papers, we will gladly leave the two of them to pick one for sending them to Parliament," said Mr Kilonzo.

Mr Kilonzo said the PSC\’s route would provide a for applicants in case Parliament rejected the nominees forwarded by the two Principals.

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"The process has a safety mechanism, for example if it had been followed and the President now withdrew the list, we would not have to go back and start from zero," he said.

Mr Kilonzo also wants the post of the Attorney General be filled through a competitive process.

The Constitutional Affairs Minister said that the public advertisement will enhance public confidence that the advice being advanced enjoys the input of Kenyans.

"People confuse government with the people in power at the time.  We have seen Mzee Kenyatta, Mzee Moi and now Mzee Kibaki and there will be other Presidents… it will help a great deal if the public knows it has participated in producing the person who is advising the government from time to time," Mr Kilonzo said.

The row over the nominations had put the PM on a war path with Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Eldoret MP William Ruto, Vice-President, Kalonzo Musyoka, and a retinue of PNU ministers and MPs.

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