, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary nominee Karanja Kibicho has refuted claims that he did not apply for the job he has been proposed for by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kibicho who appeared before the parliamentary committee on Defence and Foreign Relations says he was surprised when he learnt that there was a petition in court seeking to block his nomination.
“I have been Industrialisation PS and also now outgoing Transport PS; how do you expect me not to have followed the procedure?” he posed.
“I applied for this job in February when the Public Service Commission first advertised it. If you check on the PSC website you will see that I was applicant number 86 but my name was not in the first shortlist.”
While answering queries raised by MPs during the approval hearing, Kibicho said; “I have a responsibility to clear my name because everyone has been asking me about it; my friends are asking, my children are asking me whether it is true that I was given a job I did not apply for.”
He told the committee that he got into the list after he appealed to the Commission which had not short listed him.
“Using my experience in the public service, I wrote a very compelling letter to the Commission explaining why I thought they were wrong in failing to shortlist me,” Kibicho told the House team
“When they re-advertised for the position, I applied and I got short listed.”
MPs differed over claims that Kibicho did not apply for the job and at one time they reprimanded the Committee chairman James Ndung’u for seeming to side with the nominee.
“Let him answer the question and it is about time that the chairman desists from answering for the nominee,” said Kisumu Town MP Ken Obura.
“Mr Chairman, this matter has been in the public domain and it will be in the nominees’ interest to tell this committee and indeed the Kenyans whether he applied or not. Surely Mr Chairman it will do no harm if you allow it,” said Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo.
Ndung’u (Tetu) had overruled MPs Chris Wamalwa (Kiminini), Joseph Gitari (Kirinyaga Central) and Richard Onyonka (Kitutu Chache South) who had asked Kibicho to clarify the matter.
Ndung’u had told the Committee that he had received letters from PSC and Office of the President clarifying that Kibicho had indeed been considered after passing the application process.
However, after perusing the documents MPs insisted Kibicho must answer, noting that the correspondence which had been given out by the committee chairman was not addressing their question.
Kibicho told the committee that if appointed, he will prioritise foreign policy mainly on the economy and national security. He said the government must ensure we bring investments into the country and open markets for our local products.
“We need to bridge the gap between import and export and reduce the current gap as much as possible,” Kibicho stated.
He further added that the volume of trade will guide in the establishment of missions.
“This ministry should be the only link between Kenya and the outside world especially where economic and security diplomacy is concerned,” said the PS nominee.
Responding to a recent directive recalling all envoys working at the Kenyan missions abroad, Kibicho assured the MPs that all affected staff will be compensated.
Midiwo (Gem) said he was concerned over the fate of the envoys who are working at the missions on contract and have been recalled yet their tour of duty had not expired.
“There are contracts and an exit clause that act as a guide when dealing with the appointments within the ministry,” explained.
Kibicho said upon his appointment, he will create an objective tool that can control and explain how decisions are reached in the ministry to avert corruption.