Expect tough vetting, Azimio tells ‘corrupt’ Ruto nominees

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, flanked by some MPs allied to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party.

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, flanked by some MPs allied to Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party, speaks to journalists at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi on September 21, 2022. Azimio MPs say the proposed Cabinet “is essentially a line-up of who is who in the dark world of theft of public resources.”

Photo credit: Jeff Angote | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Azimio MPs say the proposed Cabinet “is essentially a line-up of who is who in the dark world of theft of public resources.”
  • Mr Wandayi promised that the Azimio coalition will be revealing more about the nominees in the coming days “and particularly during the confirmation hearings in the National Assembly”.
  • Mr Wandayi alleged that, if approved in its entirety, it will be the least inspiring Cabinet in Kenya’s history “as it is the least qualified to manage the affairs of the state”.

MPs allied to the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party have warned that it won’t be smooth-sailing for President William Ruto’s Cabinet nominees who have integrity issues.

In a statement released yesterday, and without giving names, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, who is Azimio’s majority leader designate in the National Assembly, said the proposed Cabinet “is essentially a line-up of who is who in the dark world of theft of public resources.”

“In an economy that is crying for revival, it is shocking that the UDA [United Democratic Alliance] administration has packed the proposed Cabinet with some men and women who should be in jail for engaging in economic crimes and sabotage of the country,” said Mr Wandayi.

He claimed some of the nominees have questionable backgrounds.

“We are seeing a line-up of people known for ethnic profiling. We are seeing warlords, hate-mongers, men and women battling mega corruption cases and those who are known for opposition to positive change, among others,” he said.

The MP promised that the Azimio coalition will be revealing more about the nominees in the coming days “and particularly during the confirmation hearings in the National Assembly”.

"Mafia state"

“Our initial take, however, is that Kenyans should prepare themselves for very difficult times ahead. The country will be witnessing the formal inauguration of a Mafia state being controlled by a Mafia executive if the nominees are appointed,” he said. 

On Tuesday at State House in Nairobi, President Ruto unveiled his Cabinet exactly two weeks after he was sworn in as the country’s fifth President, taking over from Uhuru Kenyatta, who retired after serving his second and final term.

Mr Wandayi alleged that, if approved in its entirety, it will be the least inspiring Cabinet in Kenya’s history “as it is the least qualified to manage the affairs of the state”.

“If this is the team that we must live with, then Kenyans must be prepared for very tough economic and political times. The downward slide of the economy will continue,” he said, and cautioned that the political divisions in the country will thrive and “witch hunting and reign of force and terror will go mainstream”.

In line with the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, the President will now be required to formally notify the National Assembly clerk in writing of his nominees for the vetting which will take 28 days from the date of notification.

The vetting will be undertaken by the House Committee on Appointment, which is chaired by the Speaker of the House and has the leaders of the majority and minority and majority and minority whips, among other members.

The committee is required to undertake approval hearings on the nominees and produce a report to the House recommending the approval or rejection of the nominees within the statutory 28 days.

“At the conclusion of an approval hearing, the committee shall prepare its report on the suitability of the candidate to be appointed to the office to which the candidate has been nominated, and shall include in the report, such recommendations as the committee may consider necessary,” section 8 (2) of the Act reads.

If the committee recommends the approval of the nominees and the House sitting in plenary agrees, the clerk will notify the appointing authority of the decision of the House within seven days of that decision and the President will gazette their appointment.

Section 9 of the Act says that if after the expiry of the period for consideration Parliament has neither approved nor rejected a nomination of a candidate, the candidate shall be deemed to have been approved.

Where the nomination of a candidate is rejected by Parliament, the appointing authority may submit to the relevant House the name of another candidate, and the procedure for approval shall apply accordingly.

Yesterday, Azimio said most of the nominees are tainted with financial and ethical issues “which the appointing authority was aware of but chose to ignore because, it would appear, in this administration, ethics and accountability won’t matter”.

Fair hearing

But even as Azimio MPs vowed not to sweep dirt under the carpet, they also promised to give a fair hearing to all the nominees during the vetting.

“We shall accord all of the nominees a fair hearing. But they must know that there are a lot of questions about some of them and we will be asking them relentlessly.”

Mr Wandayi said the nominees who stand flagged for extra scrutiny know themselves and that they are aware of the “mess and pain they have inflicted” on the country over the past 10 years.

“We expect that they will be prepared for the uncomfortable questions we shall be asking.”

The Azimio lawmakers further claimed that the proposed Cabinet is a line-up that is seriously wanting with regard to national unity and that “it is in no way the face of Kenya”.

“Equally worrying is the fact that a good number of the nominees have no demonstrated record of critical thinking that this country requires to dig itself out of the mess that Mr Ruto helped push us into these past 10 years.”

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