Nominees spell out their agenda in Cabinet slots

Mercy Mwai and Anthony Mwangi @PeopleDailyKe

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominees to the position of Cabinet secretaries were yesterday taken through rigorous vetting as members of the National Assembly demanded to know why they should be considered for the various positions. Members of the Appointments Committee grilled the nominees based on competence, expertise, knowledge and integrity to determine their suitability for the positions they have been appointed to.

The committee seemed keen to prove to Kenyans that the process was not merely to rubber stamp the executive orders, given that it was being executed by MPs allied to the Jubilee party. During the exercise skipped by Opposition MPs, the nominees were required to demonstrate how they would turn around their respective ministries once confirmed to the said positions.

Before the exercise National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi, the chairperson of the committee, clarified that the team would not listen to any oral submissions as the Public Appointment and Parliamentary Approval Act (Parliamentary Approval) does not have provisions for this.

That meant the committee would not listen to Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) chairman George Kegoro and Ekuru Aukot. Public Service and Gender Affairs nominee Prof Margaret Kobia promised to bring a wide range of experiences acquired in the public service. Kobia clarified that the newly created position of Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) would be critical, as it would bring efficiency among cabinet secretaries.

Kobia further said President Uhuru created the position in consultation with the Public Service Commission (PSC) as provided for in the Constitution. “The Constitution is clear, the President can establish any office, and he has the latitude to do that in consultation with the PSC.

In this matter the consultation was done, the justification was done as it was seen that CSs were being overwhelmed and that is why it was agreed we create this position.” Foreign Affairs and International Trade nominee Monica Juma appealed to MPs not to let her face double jeopardy by rejecting her nomination just like in 2015 where she was rejected by Parliament.

She told the members she was ready to work with them, as she knew her ministry would require the help of members to pass various treaties affecting Kenya. “My mind is clear on the role of Parliament which I plan to work closely with.”

And on his part the nominee for the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining, John Munyes said he would review the licensing regime for oil blocks. Munyes said if appointed he would order a forensic audit to determine how much is being extracted for the country to know how much oil the country can produce by 2021.

The former Turkana senator also said he would ensure the Sh7.5 billion set aside for airborne survey, mapping and data collection was used well. Farida Karoney, the nominee for the Lands and Housing docket said she has the courage and determination to face the cartels at Ardhi House.

Karoney said she was aware of the vicious cartels that have controlled the lands sector over the years, saying that she will be bringing her wealth of experience in the private sector to tackle them. Asked by members what changes she plan to introduce in the ministry, Karoney, a career journalist said she will digitise lands records.

She was however challenged by Leader of Majority Aden Duale to explain what she would bring on board that her predecessors, James Orengo, Charity Ngilu and Joseph Kaimenyi had not. Karoney said she was aware that for her to succeed she had to perform, adding that attaining what others had failed was her priority.

Peter Munya the nominee for the East Africa Community and Northern Corridor Development docket rubbished two affidavits opposing his nomination terming them a fabrication of the authors. Munya, the immediate former governor of Meru county, told the committee that he had been cleared by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) in all the allegations leveled against him in the affidavits.

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