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The riddle of Malonza's rejection and MP's fury with vetting committee

Tourism CS Nominee, Peninah Malonza. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The tourism and wildlife Cabinet Secretary nominee Peninah Malonza made six positive premises on her suitability but surprisingly made a negative conclusion of her. 

In what amounted to flagrant disregard for basic rules of logic, the MPs decorated her for past roles, past awards, her integrity, her excellency among other before releasing the lethal blow that contradicted the praises. 

In principles of logic and valid reasoning relied on a lot in law, conclusions are and must be necessarily derived from premises. A conclusion, therefore, cannot stand of itself without being supported by the premises. 

“The nominee did not demonstrate knowledge of topical, administrative and technical issues touching on the ministry of tourism, wildlife and heritage. Consequently, the nominee lacks requisite abilities and experience to serve as the CS for tourism, wildlife and heritage,” said observation No.7, the last of the Committee’s observations on the nominee. 

The previous six observations had been raw psalms of the nominee. In the first point, the MPs observed that Malonza was eligible for appointment on account of her Kenyan citizenship by birth, and because she did not possess dual citizenship. 

In the second observation, the MPs said she had served as a Deputy Governor of Kitui county and several other high-profile roles in Compassion International, Baptist Church and AMREF-Kenya. In this second observation, the MPs also took note of her sound academic credentials of a diploma, a Bachelor and Masters degrees as well as several short courses. 

“The nominee meets the requirements of Chapter six of the Constitution on leadership and integrity,” the Committee observed in their third observation. 

In their fourth observation, the MPs acknowledged that she had not been charged in a court of law while in their fifth, they confirmed she was not holding the office of a political party. The sixth observation acknowledged she had never been dismissed from any office over conflict of interest, financial probity issues or abuse of office. 

“I have read the whole report and the body of it about Malonza is the same as for the one for others. Their observation (on her lack of suitability) does not emanate from the report. The observation, I dare say, is a matter of baying for blood, and this is not the time,” David Ochieng, MP Ugenya argued. 

Earlier in their analysis of the nominee, the MPs took note of her several awards including the Order of Grand Warrior (OGW) conferred to her by the state. The award is conferred on people who have rendered outstanding service to the country in their areas of operations, especially those who embody the spirit of selflessness in their conduct. 

“I don’t know how many MPs here have OGW, awarded by the President. We would be very few.  Does it mean the person who awarded her was blind? Makali Mulu (Kitui Central) complained of double standards and unjust with regard to Malonza’s rejection. 

They also took note of her recognition as Top Team Performer by Compassion International in their appraisal and Long Life Learning by Gull University, California Masters Pathway Level 2. Unlike other nominees, Malonza did not have heaps of public petitions to answer to or court cases to justify before the committee.  

“According to the committee, she has won several awards… it is not possible to earn such awards, become a DG and be rejected by this house. She has people skills, and she has been awarded for that,” Onesmus Ngogoyo Kajiado North, complained. 

When the Committee fielded questions to her, she spoke of collaborations, engagements and reach-outs to stakeholders to solve issues and respond to challenges.  

“The biggest challenge we have in my community is human-wildlife conflict and compensation. When she was asked that question, her answer was that she would engage the relevant committee to ensure budget is enhanced. That is the right answer that was expected, because whenever this comes up it is usually the question of budget,” Jane Kagiri (Laikipia) said. 

MPs who spoke felt the committee was being unfair to Malonza, that the committee relied on mere presentation skills to knock her out, and said she deserved a chance to prove herself on the job. 

“We have had people speaking fluent English, but when those matters they were speaking of were brought to account, it all turned out to have been opaque and hot air,” Kuria Kimani (Molo), said. 

By the time the first phase of the debate ended, it was clear the tables were turning on the committee, and that Malonza had won the hearts of the plenary.