Azimio: We’ll block cabinet nominees with integrity issues

A host of Azimio leaders led by coalition principal Kalonzo Musyoka

A host of Azimio leaders led by coalition principal Kalonzo Musyoka when they addressed media over President Ruto's speech in Parliament.

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

The Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition party has said that it will block the appointment of Cabinet secretaries nominated by President William Ruto who have integrity issues.

The Raila Odinga-led coalition yesterday said that it has advised its MPs to reject the nomination of the CSs facing criminal charges in court when their names are tabled in Parliament for vetting.

The coalition also criticised the Thursday state of the nation address by President Ruto in Parliament, saying that the Head of State failed to address pertinent issues facing a majority of Kenyans including the high cost of living and the dwindling economic fortunes.

Speaking in Nairobi in the company of Azimio allied MPs, Wiper party leader Kalonzo Musyoka accused Dr Ruto of nominating to cabinet individuals he said were facing serious integrity questions, including ongoing criminal and civil cases in court.

“The selection of cabinet secretaries, some of whom have active criminal cases, is questionable. This was not procedurally done on the basis of competencies and personal integrity. We shall direct our MPs to withhold approval of those who do not meet the Chapter Six threshold of our constitution,” Mr Musyoka said.

The Saturday Nation has learnt that some of the nominees that the Azimio coalition is targeting include Public Service CS nominee Aisha Jumwa and her agriculture counterpart Mithika Linturi.

Ms Jumwa, who is the former Malindi MP, is currently facing a murder trial over the death ODM supporter Jola Gumbao. The former MP also has an ongoing Sh19 million graft case. Mr Ngumbao was shot dead on October 15, 2019, after chaos broke out at the home of Mr Reuben Katana, who was an ODM candidate in the Ganda ward by-election in Kilifi County.

Mr Linturi on the other hand, was in September last year charged in court over attempted rape in a hotel in Nanyuki, accusations he has denied, terming them as politically instigated.

The former Meru senator is said to have on January 2021, attempted to intentionally and unlawfully rape a 36-year-old woman at Maiyan Villa’s hotel in Nanyuki, accusations he has since denied in court.

And at their press conference yesterday, the Azimio coalition also took issue with the failure of Dr Ruto to nominate more women to the Cabinet, despite promising during the campaigns to allocate a half of the cabinet positions to women.

“On September 27, the Ruto administration unveiled their choices of cabinet secretaries. Of the total number, only seven women were named contrary to the campaign promise of a 50-50 cabinet,” Mr Musyoka said.

The coalition also accused Dr Ruto of failing to fulfil his campaign promises of lowering the cost of food and other commodities, adding that the Head of State failed to comprehensively address the economic difficulties facing a majority of Kenyans during his state of the nation address in Parliament.

Hustler narrative

Mr Musyoka said that while the Kenya Kwanza administration rode to power through the hustler narrative, its policies had so far failed to address and alleviate the suffering of the common citizen, adding that the political honeymoon had ended.

“The Ruto administration has promised itself into power by exploiting the sorry economic hardships facing our people with the use of the hustler narrative that assured us of paradise. It is now our duty to remind this administration of their campaign promises. Actions speak louder than words. It can never be promises after promises after promises,” Mr Musyoka said.

The Wiper party leader challenged the President to fulfil his pledges during the campaigns to lower the cost of living, including that of basic commodities like unga which he said have become too expensive for many Kenyans.

“From day one, all costs associated with basic living have gone up. The price of unga and the cost of electricity are beyond the ordinary wananchi’s reach. These are matters we feel should take pre-eminence in these early days.

 Subsidise fertiliser

“Just like there was the rush to subsidise fertiliser on September, 19, the same urgency should have first and foremost been applied to the rapidly rising cost of living,” Mr Musyoka said.

The coalition also took issue with the President’s approach towards addressing the country’s rising debt and the ailing economy, arguing that Dr Ruto’s decision to slash Sh300 billion from the budget was an unrealistic ambition.

“The Ruto administration initiative of utilising savings for development instead of borrowing is another camouflaged promissory note. To realise the Sh300 billion from this year’s budget is extremely ambitious. We wish to propose austerity measures such as the restructuring of the national debt and recovering of public funds looted from 2013 to date,” Mr Musyoka said.

Other issues that the coalition wants investigated include the purchase and the distribution of the subsidised fertilizer whose sourcing they said had not been made public.

“We also question how this fertiliser was procured, when it was procured and, where it was sourced from? Does it meet the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) standards?” Mr Musyoka said. “This administration must therefore make public the procurement process of this fertilizer subsidy. We have directed our MPs to commence an enquiry into the same,” he added.