Foreign Affairs and International Trade CS nominee Monica Juma yesterday asked Parliament’s Committee on Appointments not to subject her to “double jeopardy”.
Making her case why she is fit to be the new CS before the vetting committee chaired by National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi at County Hall, Nairobi, Juma said she was vetted by Parliament in 2015 but “unfortunately was not approved”.
NASA MPs boycotted the exercise.
“I wish that I do not face double jeopardy this time round,” Monica responded when nominated MP Cecily Mbarire asked her what she learnt when MPs failed to approve her as Secretary to the Cabinet.
When National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale quizzed her to explain why the Kenya Mission to the United Nations abstained to vote on Donald Trump’s Jerusalem policy, Monica told the committee that the mission had already been closed for holidays.
She said Kenya has always stood for self-determination, dismissing claims the mission abstained from voting because of pressure from the US government.
“We’ve been defined by the support for self-determination. We’re clear on that. The perception that our role is diminishing in the region is not true. We will push for a sound relationship within the region. It’s our duty to nurse and nurture the relationship,” Juma said.
CAS positions backed
Meanwhile, Public Service and Youth Affairs CS nominee Margaret Kobia told the committee that President Uhuru Kenyatta was within the law to create the positions of Chief Administrative Secretaries.
She said Uhuru consulted her and added that the role of a CAS will be purely delegated by the CS in charge.
“It was discovered that in the last term, the CSs were not able to liaise with Parliament and the counties, among other things. That’s what the CAS will be doing. It was done in the full justification of the law,” she said.
retirement age questioned
When Kikuyu MP Kamani Ichung’wa asked her if there is need to reduce the retirement age from the current 60 years to 55, Kobia said there was no need.
The outgoing chairperson of the Public Service Commission also told the committee that the percentage of those on extended term after retirement is less than one per cent, hence insignificant in creating job spaces for the youth.
“We retire people at 60 years of age. If public service is efficient, it will create a thriving environment for the private sector. I’d rather we keep the retirement age at 60.
“For one to be retained, the agency must justify. It must be based on special skills. We must, however, streamline succession management.”
Kobia, who was the first to appear before the committee at 9.31am, said she is the right person for the job because of her “wealth of experience in public service”.
She will take time to study the Youth Fund after a scandal broke out in the last two years, she said.
“The uptake of these funds has been low — maybe because people don’t understand how to get them. We should help ease the process,” Kobia said.
On his part, Petroleum and Mining CS nominee John Munyes said he would order a forensic audit in departments and parastatals within the new ministry and map out minerals. The former Turkana senator said he will end the use of prospecting licences. He said his net worth is only Sh50 million.