President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked all Cabinet secretaries to prepare hand-over notes as he readies his new proposed Cabinet list to Parliament for vetting this week.
Sources within the presidency said the update of the status in the ministry, including the budget and projects, is meant to make it easy for the CSs who will be replaced to hand over.
A source well versed with the goings-on in the Executive told the Nation on Sunday that the President will forward the names either on Wednesday or Thursday, when the House is set to break for the Christmas holidays.
The opposition National Super Alliance has insisted it will not participate in the exercise as it does not recognise the legitimacy of the October 26 election that propelled the Jubilee Party to power.
According to the source, the aim is to have the CSs vetted and approved by the House within this month for appointments to be made early January so that the appointees hit the ground running at the start of the new year.
A senior Jubilee official who confirmed the report hinted at changes.
“Of course there are some changes in the Cabinet list but I am not the right authority to divulge the details; wait for Wednesday,” the official said, refusing to go on record for fear of reprisal from the party and the government.
However, National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale said on Sunday: “As you know, the decision on when to forward the list is a prerogative of the President and I don’t know when he will forward it. However, I can confirm that, as Parliament, we are ready for the exercise.”
The anonymous source insisted that the President and his deputy William Ruto had finalised drawing up the list, but blamed the delay in forwarding it to the House on the failure by Parliament to establish committees owing to the political standoff from the August 8 and October 26 presidential elections.
The source said the Executive was putting pressure on Parliament’s leadership to ensure the committees are in place. This could explain why there is a push to have the committees, particularly in the National Assembly, established and approved by the House on or before Thursday.
The idea is to have the names forwarded to the office of the Speaker, who will then communicate the same to the plenary before adjournment, effectively kick-starting the vetting.
“It is quite an elaborate process and it must be started early,” said the source. “If we delay it into January, then it will mean that the earliest we can have a Cabinet is in February.”
Once National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi receives the names and communicates them to the House, the list will be deemed committed to the Committee on Appointments, which he chairs, for purposes of facilitating public participation.
The committee will then determine the time and venue for the approval hearings and accordingly inform the Clerk of the National Assembly, who will notify the nominees while the committee will inform the public at least seven days prior to the hearing.
The committee will then advertise in at least two mass-circulation newspapers the names of all the proposed appointees, asking the public to raise objections or views, through submission of memoranda, on why they should, or should not, be appointed.
Mr Duale confirmed that the House will proceed on recess as planned but could be recalled for the task.
“The vetting will be done this December and the most likely scenario is that a special session of the House could be called for that purpose,” said Mr Duale without divulging more.
Nasa is expected to table the names of its members to the selection committee tomorrow afternoon to facilitate the formation of the committees. The selection committee is responsible for placing MPs in different committees.
National Assembly Minority Leader John Mbadi confirmed that he will table the names but insisted on more time.
“I know Jubilee is ready with their list but, for us, we still need more time; probably, we will be ready in the next two weeks,” said Mr Mbadi.
The Suba South MP, however, insisted that the opposition will not participate in the “purported” vetting of Cabinet secretaries and principal secretaries as that would signify that there was an election in October. He argued that there was no legitimate executive authority to make appointments, hence Nasa did not want to participate in an illegitimate process.
“I have already written to the Speaker that we will not participate in the vetting and, therefore, will not nominate members to the committee,” said Mr Mbadi. “We do not want to legitimise an election that did not take place.
“Calling on the opposition to nominate members to the committee pre-supposes that there was an election, which, according to us, is not true. As far as we are concerned, the Office of the President is vacant.”
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi said the vetting of Cabinet nominees did not enjoy the support of more than half the country who did not vote in October.
“That is a purely Jubilee affair and we cannot be party to it as it is an illegitimate process that does not enjoy the support of more than half the country,” said Mr Wandayi.
“We, as the opposition, do not recognise anything that arises from the October 26 charade.”