President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated retired Anglican Church head Eliud Wabukhala to head the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC).
Archbishop Wabukala's name was tabled in the National Assembly yesterday and he is now expected to be vetted before his name is either approved or rejected by MPs.
This is a significant step that could make Wabukhala the first man of the cloth to head the country's anti-graft agency.
"Pursuant to the provisions of Standing Order number 42 (1) of the National Assembly Standing Orders, I wish to report to the House that I have received a message from His Excellency the President, seeking National Assembly's approval of the nominee for appointment as the Chairperson of the EACC," Speaker Justin Muturi said. He advised the concerned committee to expeditiously notify the nominee and the public.
"Thereafter, the committee should commence the approval hearings and table a report thereto, at the earliest opportunity to enable the House to consider the report within the statutory timelines..." Mr Muturi said.
Should Wabukala be approved by the House, he will replace Philip Kinisu, who resigned under a cloud of controversy in August. Mr Kinisu bowed to pressure following allegations of conflict of interest.
Wabukala, 65, beat a shortlist of five other candidates who were interviewed by the Public Service Commission. Others who had been shortlisted are William Kirwa, Philemon Mwaisaka, Peter Ondieki, Rose Osoro and Erastus Iguna.
Under the law, Parliament must consider the matter within 14 days from the time the name is tabled in the House, failure to which the nomination automatically takes effect.
Justice and Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Samuel Chepkonga (Ainabkoi MP) requested Parliament to extend the period to 28 days as Parliament is currently on recess until January 24.
"We will be on recess and the Parliamentary Approval Act says that the name must be approved within 14 days. The Act says that if this does not take place within this period, then the nomination takes effect automatically. I ask the House to extend the period for a further 14 days to enable the committee seek public participation and conduct approval hearings," Mr Chepkonga said.
Emurua Dikirr MP Johanna Ngeno seconded the motion for extension of time.
"When I look at that name, it gives me an agitation that we need time to pass the name," Mr Ngeno said.