NAIROBI, Kenya, July 30 – Lack of regional balance and the inclusion of former politicians Francis ole Kaparo and Morris Dzoro dominated debate as the National Assembly debated a list of 15 nominees short-listed to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission.
Kaparo is a former Speaker of the National Assembly while Dzoro served in Mwai Kibaki’s Cabinet.
Deputy Minority Whip Chris Wamalwa, Migori County Woman Representative Dennitah Ghati and Mwingi West MP Bernard Munywoki said the country must break away from the culture of recycling leaders in public bodies.
“Looking at his (Kaparo’s) age, I don’t think he has the stamina to come in to be the chairman of this commission,” Wamalwa said.
Ghati added: “It is only (Salaries and Remuneration Commission Chairperson) Sarah Serem who is at the helm as a woman, so it is only prudent that Kaparo should be the deputy of a woman.”
Other MPs questioned if his association with Deputy President William Ruto’s United Republican Party might make him biased in undertaking his duties.
Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga assured the House that Kaparo had already resigned as URP chairman.
“I expected the committee chairman to come here and show us evidence from Kaparo stating that he has quit as the chairman of URP, because that is how people know him,” said Munywoki.
Majority Whip Katoo ole Metito and MPs Johnson Sakaja and Chachu Ganya said Kaparo’s nomination was due to his experience in leadership and not as a result of political patronage.
“That is a man of integrity, a man of highest experience; a man who can solve problems without fear or favour. I know him because he was my Speaker during the Eighth Parliament,” Kitutu Chache North MP Jimmy Angwenyi told the House.
Suba MP John Mbadi was earlier overruled by House Speaker Justin Muturi after he claimed the process was flawed because the President had not announced the vacancies at the commission as is required by law.
Others in the shortlist are former NCIC Commissioners Millie Lwanga, Alice Nderitu, United Nations Development Program Peace Building and Conflict Prevention Unit team leader Roba Sharamo, Commission on Administration of Justice Director Belinda Ochiel, and former Kenya National Human Rights Commissioner Anne Munyiva Kyalo.
Rose Macharia Mghoi, Irene Njeri Wanyoike, Adan Abdi Mohamed, Alasa Osman Hirsi, Eric Oluoch Ogwang, Irene C. Masit, Joseph Wamocha Nasongo and Prof Gitile J. Naituli complete the list which was submitted to the House by Chepkonga.
Kitui Central MP Benson Makali clashed with Majority Leader Aden Duale and Meru County Woman Representative Florence Kajuju after he insinuated that intermarriages had denied some communities positions in public appointments.
“If you look at the region where I come from, the person who has been proposed is a name which come from that region but it has a dash of another region,” said Makali.
“The Honourable Member is being disrespectful to the ladies who end up begin born in one region and getting married in another region,” Kajuju quickly injected.
The President is now expected to pick eight nominees to fill the vacancies at the NCIC which were left vacant after the tenure of the previous commissioners expired last September.
The NCIC was one of the institutions formed after signing of the National Accord between former President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga after the 2007 disputed presidential election.
The commission is mandated with promoting and advising the government on equal opportunities, good relations, harmony and peaceful co-existence among communities.