Sharp Division in vetting team as they disagree of some of Ruto’s nominees

The suitability of four of President William Ruto’s Cabinet nominees has divided the committee of the National Assembly that vetted them last week as it rushes against time to table its report by Thursday.

Members of the House Committee on Appointments (CoA) from the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya side are uncomfortable with former Meru Senator Mithika Linturi (Agriculture), Ms Penina Malonza (Tourism), Zacharia Njeru (Lands) and former Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa (Public Service).

Also drawing resistance is former Central Bank of Kenya Governor Njuguna Ndung’u who was nominated for the National Treasury and Planning docket.

Sources within the Azimio group, who did not want to go on record, say the nominees are not suitable and that the President should nominate “other suitable Kenyans”.

“These nominees are not suitable to serve in the positions we vetted them for. If the committee will not agree with our view, we shall definitely draft our minority report,” an Azimio member of the committee said.

A minority report or a dissenting opinion by committee members on a matter before them is provided for in the Standing Orders. It is basically a protest note by committee members against a decision taken by the majority. The dissenting opinion may be appended to the main report.

The committee has until Thursday this week to table the report either recommending the approval or rejection of the nominees and have it adopted by the House by November 3.

However, the Notice Paper, which lists all the business before the House on a particular sitting day, shows that the committee’s report will be tabled today and considered in the afternoon of the following day.

When he appeared before the vetting committee last week, Mr Linturi said that he had 35 civil cases in court, revealing too much information that had not been asked for.

Leader of Minority Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) had just said that Mr Linturi had a litany of cases in court that may affect his suitability. In his response, Mr Linturi said: “Litany of cases in court is an understatement. I have 35 civil cases.” His response saw Speaker Moses Wetang’ula remark: “you are a witness who spoke too much.”

Kwanza MP Ferdinand Wanyonyi, a member of the committee, wondered where he will get the time to work given the many court cases he has to deal with.

“He should clear his name first before we consider him for any nomination,” Mr Wanyonyi said during the vetting.

On the nomination of Ms Malonza, a majority of the committee members were in agreement that she cannot be the face of Kenya given how she performed during the vetting.

“She is timid and lacks coherence for the docket she has been nominated, which is crucial in marketing the country to the outside world. Her evading of questions during the vetting exercise makes her appointment doubtful,” a committee member said.

Read: How MPs failed to tighten vetting of CS nominees

During her vetting, committee members said she was not articulate in her answers. At some point, Mr Wetang’ula told her to avoid skirting around the issues raised by the members.

Mr Njeru was described as lacking the required competence and experience to bring change to the ministry that is critical to President Ruto’s economic recovery agenda.

On the other hand, Prof Ndungu is blamed for overseeing the free fall of the Kenyan shilling during his time at the helm of CBK. A report by a Parliamentary ad hoc committee in 2012 called for the removal of Prof Ndung’u, accusing him of colluding with commercial banks to make “abnormal” profits.

However, during his vetting, Prof Ndung’u denied the accusations, terming them part of a plot to have him removed from CBK.

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