According to the 2010 Kenya constitution, after the nomination of Individuals to hold certain positions, the appointees fill a questionnaire for approval by the parliament. The questionnaire form contains 31 questions. According to schedule (section6 (8) of the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) No. 33 of 2011, the criteria for vetting/approval of nominees for appointment to public office by Parliament questionnaire, the following guidelines apply.
a) The questionnaire applies to appointments to public office arising by or under the constitution or by other law where parliamentary approval is required.
b) The questionnaire shall be used by the relevant parliamentary committee to vet a nominee appearing before the committee in the process of parliamentary approval.
c) The questionnaire shall be filled and submitted by the nominee to the relevant parliamentary committee through the clerk of the relevant House of Parliament on or before a date set by the committee.
d) The submission of false information in the questionnaire is an offence and may result in prosecution.
e) Any form of canvassing by a nominee shall lead to disqualification.
f) The nominee must answer all questions.
In exercise of powers of appointment, an appointment under the constitution or any other law for which the approval of parliament is required shall not be made unless the appointment is approved or deemed to have been approved by parliament in accordance with the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act.
Under the Notification of Nomination, an appointing authority shall, upon nominating a person for an appointment to which the Public Appointment ( Parliamentary Approval) act applies, notify the relevant House of Parliament accordingly. In the event where the nomination of a candidate is rejected by Parliament, the appointing authority may submit to the relevant House the name of another candidate, and the procedure for approval specified in the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, shall apply accordingly.
In Chapter 9 Part 2 of article 132 (2a), The president shall nominate and with the approval of the National Assembly, appoint and may dismiss the Cabinet Secretaries, in accordance with Article 152. Recently, Ruto surprised the Kenya parliament with his nomination of 50 CAC instead of 23. According to the media in Kenya, State House Spokesperson Hussein Mohamed said the Speaker of the National Assembly referred back to the Head of State the list of the nominees noting that the August House has no constitutional authority to vet the CAS nominees. The Speakers memorandum to the President read as follows and I quote, “The obligation to respect, uphold and defend the constitution enjoins the House to refrain from assuming and discharging a role that it has not been expressly assigned by the constitution or written law. In that regard, the National Assembly is unable to vet the nominees in absence of an express constitutional or statutory requirement to do so”.
According to reports from the media, the Parliament initially asked the Public Service Commission to create 23 CAS posts. After the parliament declined to vet the nominees, the speaker should have right away known that the action by the House was disapproval of the nominations. Instead of the Speaker of the Kenya National Assembly consulting the House for guidance in respect to the creation of such a large number of posts in a nation that is suffering economically, he chose to dismiss the House by making a grievous mistake of lying to the public and I quote, “the Kenya constitution does not provide the Kenyan Parliament the authority to vet and/or to approve nominees”. The Speaker violated the Kenya constitution when he said and I quote “the House should refrain from assuming and discharging a role that it has not been expressly assigned by the constitution or by written law”, when he understands very well, the role of the National Assembly in terms of vetting nominees as provided in the 2010 constitution. Either the Speaker has unknown sinister motives regarding the Kenya constitution, or he is on a mission to provide the president dictatorial powers over all the other organs of the Kenya government. In September 2022, the current Speaker of the National Assembly, presided over the vetting of the Cabinet, but has now rendered vetting and/or the approval clause of the Kenya constitution dysfunctional.
Dr. Isaac Newton Kinity
Counselor and Human Rights Activist
Former Secretary General
Kenya Civil Servants Union.