NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 8 – Vetting of 9 Cabinet nominees proposed by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month kicked off Thursday morning with Public Service Cabinet Secretary nominee Margaret Kobia first in line to be in the hot seat.
Former Turkana Senator John Munyes who has been nominated to head the Petroleum and Mining docket was second at 10.30am while Foreign Affairs and International Trade CS nominee Monica Juma will close the morning session.
The Committee of Appointments chaired by the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi was to kick off its afternoon session with former Royal Media Service Chief Operating Officer Farida Karoney who seeks to convince the MPs on her suitability to lead the Lands docket.
Former Meru Governor Peter Munya who has been nominated for the East African Community and the Northern Corridor will close the day’s scrutiny exercise by the committee members at 3.30 p.m.
Even as the vetting process gets, questions about the credibility of the exercise have been raised following NASA’s decision to boycott the sittings.
A section of Members of the public have questioned whether the exercise amounts to a mere formality given that the Jubilee MPs are unlikely to shoot down the nominations by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
However, Committee on Appointments Chairman and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi sought to assure members of the public that Jubilee members will act impartially and ask the hard questions.
“The capability of Jubilee members in the committee to vet the nominees is not based on their qualification or their political party. Jubilee members are very much capable to scrutinize the suitability of the nine nominated individuals to hold their respective offices,” said Muturi in a previous media briefing.
Leader of Majority Aden Duale has also dismissed the assertion that the Committee is incompetent without the input of their NASA counterparts while at the same time urging members of the public to show up for the day-long exercise.
“Jubilee members in the committee are ready to go on with the process. Members in the committee have been elected by their respective constituents and they have the ability and skills to properly vet the nominees,” said Duale.
Minority Leader in the National Assembly John Mbadi told Capital FM News that their staying away from sittings does not mean they have handed the nominees a blank cheque.
“If finally those are the guys that will be occupying those positions, the Opposition will not rest in playing its oversight role and monitoring the activities of the nominees,” said Mbadi.
Mbadi has insisted that the opposition does not recognize President Uhuru’ Kenyatta legitimacy as President and therefore will not be involved to the parliamentary vetting process.
The Suba South lawmaker and his deputy Minority Leader Robert Mbui, who are automatic members, have asked to have their membership revoked from the records while at the same time cautioning other opposition members to keep off the exercise.
Jubilee members in the committee include Muturi, Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi, Duale, Deputy Majority leader Jimmy Angwenyi, Chief Whip Benjamin Washiali and Deputy Chief Whip Cecily Mbarire.
Others are MPs Kimani Ichung’wa (Kikuyu), Joyce Emanikor (Turkana), Sabina Chege (Murang’a), David ole Sankok (nominated), Rachael Nyamai (Kitui South) and Sarah Korere (Laikipia North),
Lydia Mizighi (Taita Taveta), Khatib Mwashetani (Lunga Lunga), David Pkosing (Pokot South), Lilian Cheptoo (West Pokot), David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East), William Chepkut (Ainabkoi) and Yusuf Hassan (Kamukunji) are also members.
The submission of memoranda by members of the public on the nominees came to a close on Wednesday evening signaling the start of the vetting process.
Munya and Tobiko are among four nominees for Cabinet Secretary whose fate hangs in the balance after the National Assembly received petitions challenging their nominations over integrity and accountability issues.
In a sworn affidavit, Echesa Lubengu, a resident of Kakamega County says Munya is not fit to serve in the position because he was among the 175 people who were under investigation for corruption named by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his State of the Nation address to Parliament on March 2015.
On the other hand, Media Consultant Blamuel Njururi wants Parliament to reject Tobiko’s nomination on grounds that he has no passion for environment or wildlife.
Muturi Wednesday confirmed his office had received five affidavits in respect of the nominees.
Muturi directed that Munya, Tobiko and the two other nominees be notified of the same to allow them to respond when they appear before the House team Thursday and on Friday.