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MPs propose tough vetting for Cabinet secretaries



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Future Cabinet secretary nominees will undergo tough vetting if a number of proposals being pushed by the National Assembly are adopted.

MPs have said they do not want to be turned into rubber-stamps during the vetting process only for CSs and ambassadors to be hounded out of office by the anti-graft agency over integrity issues, bringing shame to the government.

The MPs said they have noticed a lot of gaps as far as vetting of CSs is concerned, which should be rectified going forward in a bid to get people with high integrity.

According to the MPs, any CS nominee must now have a university degree from a recognised institution. Currently, the law does not explicitly demand a degree for CS nominees.

“Cabinet secretaries should have at least a degree. It doesn’t make sense that county executives are required to have a degree while that’s not a requirement at the national level,” said Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa.


MPs also want representatives of investigative agencies from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to be present during vetting in order to give more information about nominees.

They also want representatives from the Higher Education Loans Board and the Kenya Revenue Authority to be present during so as to set the record clear about the tax history and loan repayment of the nominees.

“We don’t want a situation where you approve a nominee then three weeks later they are being arrested for tax evasion and other related integrity issues,” said Majority Leader Aden Duale.

The MPs are also pushing for the amendment of the Parliamentary Approval Act, 2011 to extend the vetting period from the current 14 days, which they argued is too short to dig deep into one’s background, to one month. The MPs also want the appointment of the CSs to reflect regional and ethnic diversity as reflected in article 130 (2) of the Constitution.

Minority Leader John Mbadi said a lot of questions are being asked by Kenyans when they see the kind of people that the House has approved.

Mr Mbadi regretted that Parliament has been reduced to checking nominees CVs and competency while leaving out critical questions.

“How would MPs know that someone is a criminal? Investigative agencies should be given time to do background check on the nominees.”

“This House is supposed to deal with issues of regional and equal balance representation not just CV, competency and what the nominee owns or does not own,” Mr Mbadi said.

He said that Parliament is not competent and qualified to know whether a nominee has a criminal background saying such matters should be left to the investigative agencies.

He also said that nominees have not been giving accurate information about their net worth. Currently, Parliament just gives nominee questionnaires to fill about their net worth.

“I suspect the information given is not accurate. Someone needs to pick these information and integrate more,” Mr Mbadi said.

Kajiado South MP Katoo ole Metito said MPs don’t have the capacity to determine whether information given is correct.

“How many slip away? For instance the questionnaire on dual citizenship, we only ask them to say yes or no. All the nominees are always cleared by EACC. The commission has a standard form on clearance and always state that they have no active investigation going on for the nominee, “Mr ole Metito said.

Funyula MP Wilberforce Oundo said there is need to re-look how vetting process is undertaken and involve the people more in this process.

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