, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 5 – The public has until Tuesday to challenge the suitability of those nominated to the Cabinet by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the Clerk of the National Assembly Justin Bundi said the deadline is to allow for the processing of any complaints before vetting starts on Thursday.
“Tomorrow (Monday) we continue processing the complaints that have been submitted by hand or using [email protected],” Bundi said.
Section 6(9) of the Public Appointments Act specifies that the public can only submit sworn statements. “Any person may, prior to the approval hearing, and by written statement on oath, provide the clerk with evidence contesting the suitability of a candidate to hold the office to which the candidate has been nominated.”
He explained that the provision was instituted to guard against unfounded allegations that have the potential to unfairly malign character. “A lot of people’s reputations have been tainted in similar sittings through malicious accusations.”
The complaints received will be forwarded to Parliament’s Committee on Appointments which will interview the 16 Cabinet nominees between Thursday and Saturday before making their recommendations to the House.
The interviews should be open to the public unless the 28 member committee passes a motion to hold part or all of its sittings in-camera following an application by a candidate or concerned party.
The committee also wields the power of the High Court when it comes to summoning witnesses to give testimony on the nominees or requiring documents be submitted as evidence.
Failure to appear before the committee once summoned or to provide evidence could land the offender in prison for a period not exceeding a year, a Sh200,000 fine or both.
The nominees can however at any time, opt out of the approval process in writing to the Clerk of the National Assembly.
Before their interviews, the nominees will be required to fill-in and submit a questionnaire in which they will, among other things, be required to reveal their net worth and involvement in any political campaigns.
The committee has 14 days from the date on which the nominees were made known to the Clerk of the National Assembly in writing to present their recommendations for debate in Parliament.
Nominees for the Ministry of Labour and the Interior Ministry are yet to be named.