, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 12 – The National Assembly has suspended interviews to replace commissioners of the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC) which were meant to kick off Monday morning.
A notice by the Clerk of the National Assembly Michael Sialai said that the decision to put off interviews for the 54 applicants who had been shortlisted by the House Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunity was taken after the High Court on Friday temporarily issued an order blocking the interviews.
“Following a court order issued on Friday 9th November 2018 by Hon. Lady Justice Wilfrida Okwany in Nairobi Constitutional Petition Number 385 of 2018 Okiya Omtatah Okoiti vs the Hon. Attorney General and the National Assembly suspending the scheduled interviews for persons shortlisted for the position of Commissioner to the National Cohesion and Integration Commission, notice is hereby given that the interviews have been suspended until further notice.”
This is after activist Okiya Omtatah petitioned the court arguing that recruitment of persons to be appointed to public office is a preserve of the Public Service Commission and the Executive, not Parliament.
Omtatah argues that the role of Parliament, if any, is limited to vetting candidates who have been cleared for appointment by the Executive.
Mombasa County Director of Communication Richard Chacha, senior journalist Catherine Njeri Rugene alongside former MPs Raphael Letimalo, Halima Mohamed, George Omondi and Shukran Gure are among the 54 shortlisted candidates for the post of NCIC Commissioners.
The National Assembly advertised the vacancies after term of the current office led by Francis ole Kaparo expired in September.
Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi on October 3 clarified that the House Committee led by Nominated MP Maina Kamanda was expected to submit the names of 15 candidates who will then be submitted to the President.
“The process of appointment of the Commissioners under the Section 17 (i) (b) of the NCIC Act is essentially a recruitment process and not the ordinary approval process of nominees contemplated under the Standing Orders on the mandate of the House Committees,” he said
Kaparo, who is a former Speaker of the National Assembly, was appointed to office on August 12, 2014, along with seven commissioners on a three-year-term.
The other commissioners were Vice Chairperson Irene Wanyoike, Belinda Ochiel, Adan Abdi Mohammed, Dr Roba Sharamo, Dr Joseph Nasongo, Morris Dzoro, and Prof Gitile Naituli.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on August 4, 2017 extended the NCIC Commissioners’ term by one year in order to keep politicians in check during the election period.