, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 23 – There was heated debate during Wednesday’s morning National Assembly sitting, after CORD legislators questioned the procedure followed in appointing former Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua to the post of Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.
Suba MP John Mbadi kicked off the storm saying the holder of the office must be picked based on a transparent, competitive process as laid out in law and vetting by Parliament given the stature of the position.
The MPs also noted that there was a potential overlap in Kinyua’s job and that of Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimemia. Kinyua was appointed a month ago.
“Why should this House vet Cabinet Secretaries and the Principal Secretaries, yet this House is not given the opportunity to vet the person who they will be reporting to. This appointment has issues,” said Mbadi.
He further questioned the distinction of roles played by Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service with that of Secretary to the Cabinet.
Leader of the Majority Coalition in the National Assembly Aden Duale said the Constitution creates four categories of offices in the public service and that the President acted on a provision that gives him the mandate to create an office in concurrence with the Public Service Commission.
MPs Nicholas Gumbo (Rarieda), Benson Makali (Kitui Central) and Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) regretted regional imbalance including the locking out of the youth in public appointments appointment.
They said, while Kenyatta had a freehand to pick his Chief of Staff, he could not pick the most powerful figure in the Public Service without having him vetted by the representatives of the people, or subjecting him to an open process.
“Much as we acknowledge the capability of Mr Joseph Kinyua, there are also young civil servants who want to progress in their careers,” said Gumbo.
Balambala MP Abdikadir Adan claimed the addition of the Chief of Staff title which is a personal appointment was deliberate to evade the vetting process.
Duale said the President picked Kinyua based on a letter dated April 22 by the Public Service Commission.
“As Chief of Staff, Duale said, Kinyua manages all of the President’s staff at State House, and in all the State Lodges in the country. The Comptroller of State House is also under the Chief of Staff,” Duale said. “As Head of Public Service, Kinyua’s role is to coordinate the public service.”
Duale clarified that Cabinet Secretaries will report directly to the President in the weekly Cabinet meetings usually held on Thursdays.
“Kinyua will not attend or participate in Cabinet meetings, unless if it’s on invitation.”
He said there was no conflict in Kinyua’s role and that of the Secretary to the Cabinet.
Kimemia, the Secretary of the Cabinet is in charge of managing Cabinet affairs and keeping all records of Cabinet meetings.