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House team vets last of nine CS nominees

National Assembly Appointments Committee on Friday concluded the two-day vetting of nine Cabinet secretary nominees. The team led by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi then retreated to prepare a report of competence, expertise, knowledge, and integrity for tabling in the House next week.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko was the first to face the vetting panel on the second day where he promised to restore Nairobi and other urban rivers to their natural state. The Environment CS nominee said he is for more stringent conservation efforts.

“It is absolutely critical that we protect and manage the environment but we need massive mobilisation,” he said. “I have the academic qualifications. The environment is as much a science as it is about the law.”

Hen also defended his integrity saying his record as DPP is unchallenged despite numerous accusations. He described the public service as a graveyard for civil servants because of allegations made against them in the course of their work. “Virtually all of us will be bedeviled by allegations of integrity issues.

That has become our society. Had the claims been substantive and backed by evidence, they would have filed affidavits and I would have responded,” he said. The former DPP was responding to a question by Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan about claims over his integrity.

“My record speaks for itself. My integrity is not questioned by those allegations. That is the occupational hazard that those who are serving or have served or who will serve, have to deal with,” added Tobiko.

He highlighted an increase in the number of professional prosecutors replacing police officers as well as a rise in conviction rate, especially for wildlife crimes, as some of his successes as the DPP. Water CS nominee Simon Chelugui was second to face the panel where he expressed confidence in achieving enough supply across the country in the next three years.

“Kenya is a chronically water-deficient country with some parts having adequate and others remaining dry. I will work on a programme to have equitable distribution,” he noted. He said he will prioritise completion of the multi-billion shillings dam projects across the country which include include Chemususu, Itare, Muranga, Thwake to deal with the scarcity.

Ukur Yatani CS nominee for Labour promised to streamline the sector through the implementation of existing laws and regulations. He also promised to turn around the fortunes of National Social Security Fund (NSSF) which he said has been mismanged for long.

“It’s common knowledge that in this country NSSF has a serious image problem and I am going to work very hard to change this narrative,” he said. Rashid Achesa Sports and Heritage nominee was the last to face the vetting panel. “As a sports person, I know the experiences of sports people in our country. I will spearhead key reforms in the ministry,” he said.

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