Vetting of new Cabinet nominees to kickoff Tuesday

Vetting of new Cabinet nominees to kickoff Tuesday

The process of vetting the new Cabinet nominees is set to kick off on Tuesday, January 9, a day after the Speaker of the National Assembly Justin Muturi is formally handed the list from State House.

After the Speaker receives the names today, he will transmit them to the Appointments Committee, which he also chairs.

The six cabinet secretaries who served in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first term and have been retained to take charge in his second and final term will not be vetted afresh.

For the three new nominees; former Turkana Senator John Munyes, former Marsabit Governor Ukur Yattani and former Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko, their fate lies with the appointments committee and the house plenary.

Before members of the August House took the two-month Christmas recess, they passed a motion, exempting the speaker from convening a special sitting to communicate the president’s message on cabinet nominees.

“That motion exempted the speaker from calling the House, so when the speaker receives the names on Monday, he will transmit the names directly to the Committee on Appointments and Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations,” said House Majority Leader Aden Duale.

Members of the public will have seven days to submit memoranda on the three nominees, and anyone with anything adverse against Yatani, Munyes and Tobiko must present sworn affidavit. The committee will within 14 days interview the nominees, and submit its report to the House.

A special sitting of the House will then be convened to either approve or reject those names within the 14-day window provided for in the Public Appointments Act of 2011.

If the committee fails to present its report within 14 days, the nominees will be deemed to have been approved, paving the way for their appointment.

The 26-member vetting committee is chaired by the speaker, with his deputy Moses Cheboi with Majority Leader in the National Assembly being co-opted as automatic members by virtue of the offices they hold in the House.

16 Jubilee members were approved by the House, but the National Super Alliance (NASA) opposition coalition declined to name its nominees to the committee, insisting it does not recognise President Kenyatta and his authority to nominate cabinet secretaries. The committee sittings will however proceed.

“We expect the president to send us any fresh person, any new person, the likes of Munyes, Tobiko, Yatani, Lenayapa, and the other he will appoint next week, we expect him to send us those names,” said Duale.

“Any CS who has been reappointed and retained in their old portfolio will not require fresh vetting. Those old CSs not be vetted by the house afresh.”

The six of the 19 Cabinet Secretaries who were retained are Henry Rotich (National Treasury), James Macharia (Transport and Infrastructure) Fred Matiang’i, (Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, and acting Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Education), Charles Keter (Energy)  and Joe Mucheru (ICT).

With the fate of 13 cabinet secretaries hanging in the balance, State House downplayed their omission from the list of those considered for re-appointment, holding that they remained in office until the president advised them otherwise. The CSs have been on leave from 23rd December that lapses on Monday.

The president can appoint a maximum of 22 cabinet secretaries, and is required to consider regional and gender factors while reconstituting his lineup.