NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – The vetting of the 16 Cabinet Secretary nominees kicked off on Thursday in earnest at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, with Devolution and Planning candidate Anne Waiguru being first on the hot seat.
Defence Cabinet Secretary nominee Raychelle Omamo, Foreign Affairs nominee Amina Mohammed, Education, Science and Technology nominee Jacob Kaimenyi and the National Treasury nominee Henry Rotich were also grilled.
The five nominees appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments led by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.
Waiguru found herself on the spot when Deputy Leader of the Minority Party Jakoyo Midiwo asked her what she thought about County Commissioners and their place in devolution as required by the Constitution.
“What is your view of the so called County Commissioners on which the government that is nominating you is silent on despite the fact that the courts have rendered them unconstitutional?” he asked.
Waiguru said it was important to set up frameworks and laws that would facilitate the devolution of functions to the Counties.
Midiwo had also asked her to give an assurance that she would facilitate devolution if she was appointed, telling her that she was perceived as a conservative and someone who was anti-devolution.
“It’s on record that I am a reformer. I have championed reforms in the public service for the last 10 years and I believe that I am one of the best candidates to push the devolution agenda in this country,” she stressed.
Omamo was the second nominee to go before the parliamentary committee.
Most of the questions she faced centred on her ability to head the defence docket and Omamo maintained that she would ensure she got regular updates on the goings-on at the ministry.
She however stayed away from touchy topics surrounding the financing of the Kenya Defence Forces, Kenya’s invasion of Somalia and the row surrounding Migingo Island saying she did not have a proper brief on the matters because she had not yet been appointed.
“I am not intimidated by Generals. I am not intimidated by lawyers and I intend to do my job. I will be firm on the Constitution, I will be firm on the mandate that I have been given by the president and I believe that I will have a very fruitful relationship with the Generals,” she said.
Mohammed appeared before the committee as the third candidate and pointed to the need for Kenya to have a foreign policy saying she would facilitate the development of one.
She also said that Kenya had sufficient missions to push its agenda.
“We can only achieve Vision 2030 if we can exploit our strengths and make sure that we open missions where we can double the benefits,” she argued.
Kaimenyi and Rotich later appeared before the legislators.