NAIROBI, Kenya, May 10- The vetting of Cabinet Secretaries entered its second day on Friday with five more nominees interviewed on their suitability to hold dockets proposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
Those interviewed were James Macharia (health), Michael Kamau (Transport and infrastructure), Judi Wakhungu (Environment), Fred Matiang’i for the ICT docket and Charity Ngilu who has been nominated to be the Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Ngilu, who served in the Cabinet of former president Mwai Kibaki, defended her track record in her previous ministries of health and water and assured that her political career would be put on hold for as long as she was a Cabinet Secretary.
The former Kitui Central MP told the Parliamentary Committee on Appointments that she had already resigned as the party leader of the National Rainbow Coalition although her docket would in some instances force her to make political decisions.
“The question is if will still be addressing rallies; but that I will keep for next time. We have separated Parliament from the Executive and I will perform the duties assigned to a Cabinet Secretary,” she said.
She told the committee that she did her best in fighting graft in the National Water Corporation but experienced lots of resistance from those who had benefited from the practice.
Ngilu affirmed that she will be impartial and unwavering in dealing with historical injustices of the complex saying some of the problems with land were “man and woman made.”
On the question of resettling Internally Displaced People (IDP’s) she pledged to deal with the causative issues behind the displacement to ensure that IDPs are resettled with finality.
“The issues of land will be dealt with in the manner provided for by the Constitution so historical injustices will be attended to – I will do it. We do not have more serious challenges in this country than those affecting land,” she said.
She said that the Ministry of Lands had never had the will to do the right things in addressing land issues but that the jubilee government was now committed to settling the issues bedeviling land.
“For me issues of land are just an extension of the issues I have handled in the ministries of Water and Health because land is a factor of production which if we do not set right we will never address poverty levels,” she said.
The nominee also pledged to pursue prudent policy for eradicating slums by constructing low cost housing and policy on correcting gaps in urban planning.
On his part, career banker James Macharia who is President Kenyatta’s choice for the Health docket admitted that a job in the public sector would force him to take an 80 percent pay cut, but his decision was informed by his desire to serve his country.
“It is a chance that might never come again and I’m delighted to submit myself to the process; I am not coming for the money if it was for the money I would not come,” he said.
He told the committee that he intends to realise universal access to healthcare by all Kenyans but that will only be achievable if devolution works.
Macharia was also taken to task on how he intends to retain the best medical practitioners trained in Kenya to which he committed to addressing the issue of remuneration.
On her part Wakhungu who was taken the third to be vetted, outlined her various approaches to conservation of water towers, increasing forest cover and matters dealing with wildlife conservation.