What you need to know:
- The human rights body will be chaired by Ms Kagwiria Mbogori, together with three commissioners whose names were approved by MPs that include Ms Suzanne Shatikha, George Morara and Jedidah Waruhiu, who are expected to lead the rights agenda for the next six years.
Parliament on Tuesday approved the appointment of the chairperson and three commissioners of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission but rejected the appointment of one commissioner.
The human rights body will be chaired by Ms Kagwiria Mbogori, together with three commissioners whose names were approved by MPs that include Ms Suzanne Shatikha, George Morara and Jedidah Waruhiu, who are expected to lead the rights agenda for the next six years.
However, the rejection of Mr Vincent Lempaa sparked debate over sidelining of marginalised communities, with some MPs suggesting that the name should be replaced with that of a person from the same community.
The legislators also took the opportunity to debate on the committee’s report and to set the agenda of the KNHRC, which some of the MPs accused for driving an activist and political agenda in the past.
The Justice and Legal affairs committee in its report said Mr Lempaa's appointment had been rejected on account that his name was not on the list sent by the chairman of the selection panel to President Uhuru Kenyatta for appointment.
The committee chaired by Mr Samuel Chepkonga, MP for Ainapkoi also observed the nominee did not demonstrate sufficient competence on human rights issues.
Migori Women Representative Ms Deninah Ghati, said the rejection of Mr Lempaa was a ploy to further marginalise communities that required to get more positions in government so as to catch up with the rest of the country.
“We see this move as sinister as it will further marginalise communities that are poorly represented when it comes to state positions,” she said.
However, Mr Chepkonga defended his committee’s decision, saying even the committee comprised of members from both the minority and the so called majority tribes.
“We only required 4 positions and it is not possible to take care of all the 42 tribes,” he said adding the name was rejected on merit after it was found there were inconsistencies and that any disparities in regional balance were likely to find balance in appointments to other constitutional commissions.
Mukurwe-ini MP Kabando wa Kabando said previous commissions served an activist and political agenda, saying the present commission needed to be fully accountable to parliament and its members not engage in “loud activism.”
At the same time, the committee on Labour and Social Welfare approved the appointment of Dr Florence Nyokabi as member of the National Gender and Equality Commission and rejected the nomination of Abdillahi Alawy.
It claimed Dr Alawy had dual citizenship and that due process was not followed in applying to regain his Kenyan citizenship and that he was out touch with Kenya’s gender and equality challenges.