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Only Kibaki’s signature keeps Lumumba from top KACC post

By | June 25th 2010

Lawyer P L O Lumumba is set to become the new director of the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission after Parliament cleared him for the plum job.

The House also cleared Lawyer Pravin Bowry and University lecturer Jane Onsongo to serve as assistant directors. President Kibaki is expected to formalise the appointments.

Members adopted the report by the Justice and Legal Affairs committee that recommended the appointments. Committee chairman Mohammed Abdikadir told the House there would be no justification to deny the nominees the jobs.

Dr Lumumba navigated the ethnic and political treachery in the House to clinch the nomination of the post left vacant following the resignation of Justice Aaron Ringera last year.

President Kibaki renewed Ringera’s tenure, but Parliament rejected the unilateral appointment. Ringera eventually caved in to public pressure and resigned.

In Parliament, out of the 13 MPs who contributed to debate yesterday, only Livestock minister Aden Dualle opposed the nominations.

Dualle said Lumumba had political links having unsuccessfully vied for a parliamentary seat while Bowry had represented clients linked with mega-corruption scandals.

A member of the departmental committee on Justice and Legal Affairs George Nyamweya had also opposed their nominations on similar grounds, saying they amounted to conflict of interest.

unanimous support

But members who supported the appointments said the nominees were picked on merit after a rigorous recruitment exercise. They noted the National Security Intelligence Service, the Law Society of Kenya and the Advocates Complaints Commission had given the candidates the green light.

When the Motion was put to a verbal vote it garnered unanimous support from the House.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua urged Parliament to approve the nominees to step up the fight against graft "at a time the Government has become a comfortable bed fellow with corruption."

She cited the recent reinstatement of PSs, who had been suspended over corruption allegations, which she claimed, was done irregularly.

Ikolomani MP Bonny Khalwale said it would be self-defeatist for the House to reject the appointments after vetting by its own committee and other professional bodies.

He told members not to be guided by ethnic considerations during voting.

The members said it was not fair to block the appointment simply because a person had acted for clients in a court case in their professional capacity and it was not a crime to seek elective office.

— Reports by David Ochami, Alex Ndegwa and Gerald Gichura

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