Sunday, December 29, 2013

State House backs new parastatal heads

PHOTO | GEORGE KIKAMI Lamu Women Rep Shakila Abdallah and Lamu East MP Sharrif Ali (centre) at Vipingo Ridge on December 29, 2013 at a homecoming party for Kilifi South MP Mustafa Idd. They rejected the appointment of Mr Francis Muthaura as Lapsset chief.

PHOTO | GEORGE KIKAMI Lamu Women Rep Shakila Abdallah and Lamu East MP Sharrif Ali (centre) at Vipingo Ridge on December 29, 2013 at a homecoming party for Kilifi South MP Mustafa Idd. They rejected the appointment of Mr Francis Muthaura as Lapsset chief.  NATION

By NATION TEAM
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State House on Sunday came to the defence of President Kenyatta over the appointment of parastatal heads last week.

This came as leaders across the country, including the President’s allies, threw salvos at the Head of State, accusing him of rewarding his cronies.

Director of Communications in the Office of the President Munyori Buku said the appointments were effected after thorough scrutiny of qualifications of the individuals involved.

“They were done after interviews and meticulous scrutiny of the individuals. They were all above board and there is no reason for the criticism,” he said.

Mr Buku said the 26 appointments were a small fraction of the expected appointments, arguing that all parts of the country would be considered. He was referring to chief executive officers and members of boards of parastatals whose recruitment was stopped.

RUTO RESPONDS TO CRITICS

Meanwhile, Deputy President William Ruto told off leaders criticising the appointments saying 70 per cent of those picked were youthful.

Mr Ruto, speaking Sunday during Kilifi South Mustafa Idd’s homecoming party at Vipingo Primary School, asked what wrong Ambassador Francis Muthaura had done to them to warrant such criticism.

“We don’t discriminate on people when we appoint Kenyans to different capacities and I don’t understand why everybody is on Mr Muthaura’s case,” he said adding that the government had appointed more than six coast leaders in different national positions.

Coast MPs have strongly opposed the appointment of former Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura as chairman of Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project.

Yesterday, MPs Shariff Ali (Lamu East), Shakila Abdalla (Lamu Women Representative) and Abdulswamad Nassir of Mvita, sharply criticised Mr Muthaura’s appointment.

The MPs said the Head of State should have appointed a qualified person from the Coast rather than a retired public servant.

They argued that the region had highly qualified people with much more experience of port matters than Mr Muthaura.

Mr Ali claimed the President had discriminated against Lamu residents by denying them the position.

The lawmaker said the port project was doomed to fail if locals were not involved.

“We demand the revocation of the appointment and instead a qualified person from Lamu be given the position,” the MP said.

Ms Abdalla, demanding to know what criteria was used in the appointment, said it was wrong for the President to have appointed Mr Muthaura without advertising the post.

UNFAIR FOR THE YOUTH

Mr Nassir added that it was unfair for President Kenyatta to appoint a retired public servant at the expense of young qualified people.

In Nairobi, the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) accused the President of overlooking the National Social Security Fund in the new parastatal appointments.

The umbrella workers union said it was wrong for the government to ignore the fund yet it needed major changes to serve Kenyans better.

Cotu secretary-general Francis Atwoli said the terms of three members of the NSSF board had expired and they needed to be replaced or their contracts renewed.

“Were it not for political and other personal interests within a section of government, the President would have started with changes at the NSSF as it is a workers’ fund. This would ensure that the board of trustees is fully constituted to execute its mandate,” he said.

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