NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10 – Sixty six candidates have been shortlisted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) for the positions of Principal Secretary.
Commission Chairperson Margaret Kobia said the list of 66 would be submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta by midnight Friday for him to select his appointees.
Kobia added that the list would recommend to the president which ministries to nominate the candidates to. “When we were doing interviews we were asking the candidates to indicate, looking at their personal profiles, their experience, their competence, which docket would they feel most comfortable in but the president is not bound by that.”
In compliance with the constitutional provisions on gender equity in public offices, Kobia said a third of the Principal Secretary candidates shortlisted are women. “Those we interviewed were about 53 women and over 100 men.”
The commission, Kobia said, attempted to ensure ethnic diversity when it shortlisted the candidates and included persons with disabilities. “We interviewed about nine people with disabilities and they are also being considered among the list of the 66.”
Kobia defended the PSC’s decision to carry out the interviews behind closed doors, a decision she said was undertaken to avoid making those being interviewed uncomfortable and to allow candidates to keep their competitive edge.
“If you are being interviewed this morning and the interviewing is public, then the person coming later, definitely has got an advantage,” Kobia explained.
Kobia was however categorical that the public’s sentiments regarding those who had been shortlisted for interviews had been taken into consideration.
“The general public did give us comments on 90 percent of all the short listed candidates where they raised issues relating to corruption, nepotism, tribalism and when the candidates presented themselves,” Kobia said, “we asked them to clarify.”
Kobia did however admit that the commission faced challenges holding the candidates to account given there was no proof of wrong doing where there were complaints, “I think in Parliament where they are asking people to do an affidavit, should be the right thing and if the allegation is very strong, then even the witnesses should be called to testify before the Committee (on Appointments).”
Just like the Cabinet nominees, once the president selects from the recommended list, Principal Secretary nominees will have to be approved by Parliament before they are appointed.
Some 2,088 candidates submitted applications for the positions of Principal Secretary of which 155 were short listed to undergo interviews, which began on April 29 and ended on Friday morning.