NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 25 – The Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has urged a parliamentary committee to reject names of three nominees forwarded by President Mwai Kibaki for chairperson of the National Police Service Commission.
LSK members Apollo Mboya and Wilfred Nderitu who appeared before the Departmental Committee on Administration and National Security on Wednesday said the list is unconstitutional because suitable candidates were omitted.
“The Constitution is very clear that the chairman should be a lawyer qualified to be appointed to be a High Court judge,” the LSK officials said.
Mboya and Nderitu told the parliamentary committee that unless the law was adhered to in totality, the names would not be accepted and as such the police commission will be unconstitutional.
The nominees forwarded by President Kibaki on March 7 include Amina Masoud for chairperson and members Esther Chui Colombini, Ronald Musengi, James Atema, Muia Mutia and Mary Awuor.
The LSK officials said none of the nominees appeared in their register as Advocates of the High Court with qualifications for the position.
They now wants the process of appointing the chairman and members of the police service commission to start from the tallying level.
“We have looked and the merits and demerits of starting the process afresh altogether and we are of the view that the names should be looked in the original list that contains the scores they got during the vetting stage, that way we will be able to get proper candidates,” Mr Nderitu said.
Chairman of the committee Fred Kapondi of Mount Elgon had informed the LSK officials that starting the process all over again will hamper the entire process of achieving police reforms in the country.
“We are alive to the fact that there is no candidate in the submitted list who is a lawyer and as such this can bring problems, but if the process starts afresh from the point of advertising the positions, the reform process will delay,” he said, adding it is the police service commission which is expected to carry out much of the awaited police reforms—including the appointment of the Inspector General of Police and two deputies.
The parliamentary committee started hearing petitions from various groups Wednesday before embarking on vetting the individuals whose names were submitted. In light of the new development, it is highly unlikely the actual vetting of the submitted list will be carried out.
The names forwarded by President Kibaki are also contested by Prime Minister Raila Odinga who insists he was not consulted and has accused the Office of the President of altering the final list.
The initial list sent to the PM’s office from the OP proposed names of Johnstone Kavuludi as chairman while members remain the ones in the final list.
Kapondi has assured the LSK and other stakeholders opposed to the list that the committee is likely to consider reviewing the original list with scores for each of them as opposed to starting a fresh nomination exercise which delay the police reforms all together.
“I think this way we will contribute to ensuring Kenyans get the much desired police reforms soon,” he said.
The government is behind schedule in appointing the Inspector General of Police and two deputies because they will play key roles in ensuring maximum security in the country in the upcoming general election.