Human rights groups urge MPs to reject CS nominees battling criminal cases

Executive Director Kenya Human Rights Commission Davis Malombe during a press briefing at KHRC offices in Nairobi on September 29, 2022.

Photo credit: Evans Habil I Nation Media Group

Civil society organisations have threatened court action should Parliament approve the appointment of Cabinet Secretary (CS) nominees battling criminal cases in court.

Led by Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) Executive Director Davis Malombe, the organisations expressed concern that several of the appointments made by President William Ruto had failed to uphold integrity, the two-thirds gender rule, ethnic balance and concerns that it appeared as if the Head of State was rewarding political loyalists.

“Over seven appointees to the Kenya Kwanza Cabinet have allegedly been implicated in grave crimes, including corruption, rape and murder, and have ongoing court cases, begging the question: ïs there intent to protect, respect and uphold the Constitution?” asked Mr Malombe.

He added: “We ask Parliament not to approve the appointment of nominees who have integrity issues. If they do so, we will proceed to court to challenge those approvals. We did so in 2017, and this time we hope we will get justice.”

Other groups that signed the statement are Inform Action, Angaza Movement, Muhuri, Inuka Kenya, Midrift Network, Haki Yetu and Crawn Trust.

Mr Malombe complained that the President had also failed to actualise the two-thirds gender rule, as he had promised during the campaigns, as well as ensuring that his appointments reflect regional and ethnic diversity. This, he said, may exacerbate ethnic disgruntlement and dilute the gains made in inclusion.

“The two-thirds gender threshold has not been met. Some 70 per cent of the current nominees are men and not women. The President, therefore, needs to recall some of the proposed apnointments he has made and nominate more women,” said Mr Malombe.

According to the official, another concern was regional balance, with some areas appearing to be favoured at the expense of others.

“About 50 per cent of the appointees are from the Gikuyu, Embu and Meru communities, 30 per cent from the Rift Valley region and 20 per cent has been allocated to a few other communities in Kenya,” said Mr Malombe.

He argued that the three new portfolios of National Security Adviser, Prime Cabinet Secretary and Adviser on Women’s Rights are unconstitutional and are likely to further burden the taxpayer and deepen the public debt.

“We ask the Executive arm of the government to respect, uphold and protect the Constitution, and for independent institutions to investigate and prosecute individuals in public offices who do not meet the relevant requirements or are implicated in graft and other cases,” he urged.


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