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Unanswered questions from vetting of Ruto’s Cabinet nominees – Business Daily

A Cabinet Secretary nominee before the National Assembly’s Committee on Appointments on October 22, 2022. PHOTO | SILA KIPLAGAT | NMG
More than two months after the August General Election, the country is still waiting for President William Ruto’s Cabinet Secretaries to get into office and start the work of delivering on the Kenya Kwanza poll pledges. The delay has nothing to do with the President. Instead, it is the consequence of the constitutional architecture that we adopted in 2010.
Article 152 of the Constitution not only fixes the number of Cabinet Secretaries but also provides that their appointment is a three-step process involving nomination by the President and approval by the National Assembly before formal appointment thereafter.
The rationale for the approval process is noble and was borrowed from the presidential system in the US. It enables the people’s representatives to assess the suitability of the nominees to serve in the various dockets for which they have been proposed. The process in the country is governed by clear provisions in the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approvals) Act.
Barring any miracle, all the nominees will be approved. Over the week, some citizens started murmuring about having to delay an eventuality since the process looks more like a ritual. Questions also arose on the relevance of the task being undertaken by the National Assembly and of some of the questions being asked. To be fair to the MPs, the questions are guided by the provisions of the law that was passed in 2011 to guide the process.
However, after three approval rounds since then, it is important to reflect on the utility of the process. First, the delay in assuming office after an election is not healthy. With the urgent issues requiring resolution, to continue with a process that has the outgoing Cabinet Secretaries in office for three months is to waste the valuable time of Kenyans and any incoming administration.
During campaigns, there are two magical periods that all candidates speak about. This is immediately after the elections and the second is within 100 days. While legally the period for the new administration started only after swearing in, for the ordinary citizens their problems could not wait. To them 100 days end at the end of November. That’s the same month that the new Cabinet Secretaries will be getting into office.
More fundamentally, is what the hearings really serve. A good illustration is the net worth of the nominees. It is supposed to help citizens through their representatives gauge the sources of wealth of the nominees, their integrity and thus provide a baseline for following their earnings while in government serving citizens.
Listening to the figures being mentioned though many questions remain unanswered. First, is the accuracy of the figures and the capacity of those undertaking the hearings to verify them. Secondly is the purpose they serve except to demonstrate to the normal mwananchi that most of the nominees are extremely rich and that politics is the ticket to that wealth.
The writer is a law professor at the University of Nairobi’s School of Law.

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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.