Parliament to debate CS vetting report tomorrow

The National Assembly is expected to debate the report by the Committee on Appointments on Cabinet Secretary nominees vetting tomorrow, October 26.

This will pave way for the swearing of the new cabinet by end of the week.

The Order Paper issued by the House clerk shows the committee’s report will be tabled on Tuesday afternoon in a special motion.

The debate on the fate of the cabinet secretaries will be capped to three hours, with the Majority and Minority Leaders allocated 15 minutes each and 10 minutes to the members.

The vetting process ended last Saturday, and the committee chaired by House Speaker Moses Wetangula and deputy Gladys Boss Sholei retreated to deliberate and create a report.

It has emerged that the committee comprising among others, Majority Leader Kimani Ichung’wa and Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi, has differed on the qualifications of some of President William Ruto’s cabinet picks.

Leaks from the retreat indicate that the committee has expressed issues with former Meru Senator Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Penina Malonza (Tourism), Zacharia Njeru (Lands), former Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u (Treasury), and former Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa (Public Service).

Members of the House Committee on Appointments from the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya side are uncomfortable with their nominations as some have pending court cases and others have corruption to questionable public conduct in the past.

According to the Standing Orders, Azimio members who are the minority can issue a minority report or a dissenting opinion. In essence, it is a protest letter by committee members against a vote that was cast by the majority. It is possible to include the dissident viewpoint in the main report.

Speaker Moses Wetangula had outlined November 3 as the deadline to complete the vetting, debate, and gazettement of the cabinet secretaries.

During the vetting, the committee showed interest in the academic qualifications of Aisha Jumwa and grilled Linturi over the same. Furthermore, the committee believed that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decision to drop some of the charges against the suspects was politically motivated, and as a result, the targeted nominees still had to deal with questions of integrity and merit.

They contend that some of the nominees shouldn’t be approved because they don’t adhere to the Constitution’s ethical and integrity requirements in Chapter Six.

They said that Malonza had not shown that she understood her docket in the case at hand. Ironically, it was claimed that some of the people who had reservations about her abilities were from her lower Eastern neighbourhood.

The MPs will have the opportunity to vote on whether to approve or not to approve each nominee, but with Kenya Kwanza holding a narrow majority, the cabinet nominees need not hold baited breathe.

The acting Clerk of the National Assembly, Serah Kioko, will notify the President of the decision if the House approves the nominations, and the President will appoint those who will have been formally approved by a notice in the Kenya Gazette.

When the candidates are gazetted and subsequently sworn in, the tenure of their predecessors, who have already presided over Cabinet meetings under the new administration, is effectively over.

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