NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14 – Parliament has approved President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 16 nominees to the Cabinet, but not before MPs blasted the Committee on Appointments which had rejected Phyllis Kandie of the East African Community, Commerce and Tourism docket.
The committee had recommended that Kandie be dropped, saying she did not impress them when she appeared for an interview.
However, MPs from both the ruling Jubilee coalition and CORD accused the committee which was chaired by the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi (who lacks voting rights) of deficient reasons to reject the nominee.
The committee’s report was tabled by the Leader of Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale, but the House took him to task for failing to circulate the report for MPS to review it before the debate in Parliament.
Muturi stepped in and explained that the House clerks were facing technical challenges in churning out sufficient copies of the report.
Duale explained that the committee did not find any blot on Kandie’s integrity or academic qualifications, but she did not project confidence to handle the docket when she appeared before the House team.
MPs John Mbadi, Millie Odhiambo and Ayub Savula among others demanded a better explanation for her rejection.
Deputy Leader of the Minority Coalition in the National Assembly Jakoyo Midiwo, who sits on the committee, told the House that they were convinced that Kandie could not perform to the requirements of the docket.
“She didn’t seem to understand what she will do with the docket. She will be our face out there when she talks about tourism, promoting commerce both locally and internationally; the lady did not know what the East African Community (EAC) was all about,” said Midiwo.
Cecily Mbarire who also sits on the committee said they felt that Kandie might have been intimidated by appearing before the media and politicians.
Kigumo Member of Parliament (MP) Jamleck Kamau who claimed he was the only dissenting member in committee was challenged by fellow committee members Joseph Nkaiserry and Ibrahim Sane who separately recounted to the House that Kamau was the first to oppose the nomination of Kandie.
The Kigumo MP had earlier stated; “I raised a question asking the committee for the reasons for the rejection of Ms Kandie and did not get any.”
Mukurweini MP Kabando wa Kabando, on his part, said the Committee on Appointments failed to present the quality that the country expected. “Vetting is all about competence and integrity. The questions asked by the committee failed the country terribly.”
The debate was calmed down by a move by Nairobi County Woman Rep Rachael Shebesh to amend the report’s recommendation and have the House approve Kandie as a Cabinet Secretary.
MPs voted in favour of the amendment, which paved way for the approval of all the 16 nominees.
The names will now be sent to the Attorney General who will hand them over to President Kenyatta for appointment.
The president is yet to appoint nominees for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government and that of Labour, Social Security and Services.