NAIROBI, Kenya Feb 18 – Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo is accusing officials working close to President Mwai Kibaki for the delay in gazetting members of constitutional commissions such as the National Land Commission (NLC) and the Teachers Service Commission.
Kilonzo told journalists that there are individuals he described as ‘middle level managers’ who are keen on creating a clash between the presidency and other organs of the government.
He said Lands Minister James Orengo and Attorney General Githu Muigai had both correctly advised the president to appoint members of the NLC.
“The AG assured me during the Cabinet meeting that he has made his recommendation. But as you have seen continuously there are some middle level managers who are supposed to advice the president who are happier when he is in trouble because they can then say they are working,” Kilonzo told reporters as he admitted last Thursday’s Cabinet meeting was unsure of the fate of the appointees.
Pressure continues to pile on President Kibaki to gazette officials of the land commission, for the institution to begin resolving the land muddle.
The Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) on Monday faulted President Kibaki for failing to exercise his constitutional mandate to appoint the National Land Commission members.
According to CIC, a court order issued on February 4, 2013 that expired on February 11, 2013 stated: “The president be and is hereby directed to comply with the provisions of paragraph 8 of the first schedule to the National Land Commission Act and officially appoint the Chairperson and Members of the National Land Commission within seven (7) days from the date hereof.”
Kilonzo stated that the president had no reason not to appoint commissioners and a chairperson to the commissions, which are charged with the task of managing public land and addressing the welfare of teachers respectively.
“He cannot reverse the decision that Parliament has passed. I appeal to the president to listen to voice of the people because it is the voice of God and gazette those names.”
Kilonzo said that his ministry had also been affected by the delay because the TSC stands the risk of being improperly constituted with the term of some commissioners having elapsed.
“For me it is embarrassing… I am now working with a TSC that is designated by history. Most of the former commissioners have retired and there has been serious erosion. I was hoping that the new ones can come in so that they can understudy the old ones.”
He called on all government officials and public servants as well as all government departments to obey the courts in order to help the Judiciary carry out its mandate with no difficulties especially during the forthcoming general election.
“You have some quarters saying that the president should prosecuted, that sort of statement goes into history and we can’t afford this sort of thing, it’s not like we don’t have enough problems with law and order, ICC and these other things,” stated the Education Minister.
Although Parliament approved the names of nine members to serve in the commission in August, the president has not made the appointments.
There is suspicion among stakeholders that some powerful individuals were behind the delay that has stalled the land reforms.
The Head of Civil Service and Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia had earlier stated that the delay was caused by a court injunction.
“This is to inform you that as much as the issue of Land Commission has undergone various processes, there is still a court injunction that prevents the gazettement and this office is awaiting new orders (if any).” Kimemia had stated in a letter to the commission.
The High Court had in November dismissed an application seeking to block the team from assuming office.
The petitioners had claimed in court that the composition of the team infringed on their fundamental rights and freedom.
The nine nominees cleared by Parliament were Mohammed Swazuri as chairman, Tomiik Mboya Konyimbih, Silas Kinoti Muriithi, Rose Mumbua Musyoka, Samuel Kipng’etich Tororei, Abigael Mbagaya, Emma Muthoni Njogu, Clement Isaiah Lenachuru and Abdulkadir Adan Khalif.
The NLC is tasked with managing public land on behalf of the national and county governments, recommending a national land policy to the State and advising it on a comprehensive programme for the registration of titles throughout the country.
It is also mandated with conducting research related to land and the use of natural resources and to make recommendations to appropriate authorities among others.