MPs defy Azimio protests, approve all Ruto PS nominees

The move now sets the stage for formal appointments by the President.

In Summary

• Minority unsuccessfully tried to block the debate on the PSs vetting.

• House voted to approve all the nominees as recommended by various committees.

National Assembly members in session.
National Assembly members in session.
Image: File

MPs on Thursday defied the protest from the Minority in Parliament to approve all 51 Principal Secretaries nominated by President William Ruto.

The move now sets the stage for formal appointments by the President.

Azimio leaders, led by Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi and Minority Whip Junet Mohamed, staged a walkout from the chambers after their attempts to stop the approval process were overruled by the Speaker.

Addressing the media, Junet disclosed the plans to escalate the stand-off to the ‘people’ to decide.

“This matter is not going to end here in Parliament, don’t be shocked if Kenyans recall their sovereignity,” Junet said.

“What you are seeing in Parliament today is just but the beginning. Wait for the end.”

The processing of the nominees was halted after the Law Society of Kenya moved to court to block the exercise, claiming the nomination did not reflect the face of Kenya.

The exercise resumed on Wednesday where all the remaining 29 nominees were vetted and report filed in a record 24 hours.

The marathon exercise stretched parliamentary facilities, forcing the House to procure a number of high-end city hotels to facilitate the process, which went late into the night.

On Thursday, relevant departmental committees' chairmen tabled their reports, which were approved before the lawmakers break for the long December recess.

The recess starts from December 2, 2022 to February 13, 2023.

Earlier attempts by the Minority to block the approval process were thwarted after the Speaker allowed the process to continue.

Wandayi and Junet rose on several point of orders to have the approval process postponed to allow lawmakers to read the report and make informed decisions.

Junet argued that the rush to pass the nominees is a mockery of the vetting process as provided for in the 2010 Constitution.

“Vetting process was concluded yesterday [Wednesday], report brought just now. We will look like we're doing a mockery to the process of vetting,” Junet said.

“Under the new Constitution, vetting is a serious matter. Members need to internalise the report unless we are a conveyor belt.”

Wandayi said the rush was akin to the House ceding its authority to the Executive insisting there was nothing pressing to warrant the speed.

“There is nothing earthshaking in any of these motions that if we don’t conclude them then the world comes to an end,” the Ugunja MP said.

But Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa said the Minority was clutching on technicalities to derail the process.

“They should know that 94 per cent of members are fast learners. We have gone through the report and internalised it,”  Barasa said.

Some of the nominees approved by the House include Raymond Omollo (Interior), Julius Korir (Cabinet Affairs), Aurelia Rono (Parliamentary Affairs), Prof Julius Bitok (Citizen Services), Philip Harsama (Crop Development) and Harry Kimtai Kachuwai (Livestock Development).

Others are Muthoni Njagi (Blue Economy), Gitonga Mugambi (Irrigation), Paul Ronoh (Water), Prof Edward Kisiang'ani (Broadcasting), Eng John Tanui (ICT), Patrick Mariru (Defence), Dr Korir Sing’oei (Diaspora), Abdi Dubat (EAC Affairs) and Dr Belio Kipsang (Basic Education).

Beatrice Inyangala (Higher Education), Alex Wachira (Energy), Mohamed Liban (Petroleum), Festus Ngeno (Environment), Ephantus Kimotho (Forestry), Elijah Mwangi (Mining), Dr Chris Kiptoo (Treasury) and James Muhati were also approved by press time.

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