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Makueni nominees vetting kicks off as House committee questions Johnston Kavuludi's suitability

By MOSES NJAGIH and ROSELYNE OBALA | Feb 25th 2015 | 3 min read

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta's nominee for the chairmanship of the Commission of Inquiry into the affairs of the troubled Makueni County, Mohammed Nyaoga, now says he is not ready to be engaged in the job for the stipulated six months.

Nyaoga told the Senate committee on Devolved Governments, which began vetting the six nominees yesterday, that he would rather not take up the job if it will tie him up for half a year.

“The ground rules have been laid. We will take two months to complete this process and if anyone has any intentions to delay this process, he will not be tolerated,” Nyaoga said.

Other nominees, National Police Service Commission (NPSC) Chairman Johnston Kavuludi, and Emily Gatuguta, also told the senators that they did not expect to spend more than two months to establish whether Makueni County should be dissolved or not. The other nominees are former Mombasa Mayor Taib Ali Taib, Alice Wairimu Nderitu and Harrison Maithya.

“This is a serious matter and the faster we dispense it the better for the anxious people of Makueni,” said Mr Kavuludi.

However, the committee questioned Kavuludi's suitability. The Kipchumba Murkomen-led committee sought an explanation as to why Kavuludi has continued to chair crucial NPSC meetings without quorum.

"Kavuludi should state his own suitability to sit in the commission of inquiry in view of the happenings in NPSC even going by a report by the independent medical legal unit," Senator Janet Ong'era said.

The bungled police recruitment, which was nullified by the High Court last year over massive irregularities, came back to haunt him.

"Kavuludi should state whether NPSC board meetings are constitutional based on quorum hitches. The commission has not replaced its vice chair Esther Chui Colombini who passed on one and a half years ago and another commissioner has been indisposed for the last one year," Ong'era said.

Extreme circumstances

"Why has the commission not kicked off the replacement process. It seems the commission is working with a lot of constraints and with another assignment to the chairman, what will become of it?" Senator Hassan Omar (Mombasa) asked.

Kavuludi said he is working under extreme circumstances, when it comes to board meetings.

"In the absence of the chairman there is no quorum. Parliament needs to amend the law, the threshold is too high," he said.

The Senators also punched holes on how police reforms were being implemented.


"The public's perception is that police reforms have not attained fundamental change and the officers' morale is at its lowest. Based on your performance at the helm of the commission, do you think you are suitable for this nomination? asked Billow Kerrow (Mandera).

"The police service is undergoing a major transformation. Though we have our setbacks including the bungled police recruitment, we have done a lot," Kavuludi answered.

The lawmakers demanded to know the status of the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) probe on the alleged breach on the procurement law, in awarding a contract to partition NPSC offices.

"The commission is still under probe by EACC on the office tender, is this likely to affect the performance of the commission?" Kerrow asked.

"The process of office partitioning is not complete. Since the commission lacked the staff to source the contract, we mandated the Ministry of Public works to act on our behalf. I was to chair the meeting for valuation, I didn't know it was a mistake," Kavuludi said.

Kerrow claimed that corruption within the police service has worsened, yet Kenyans thought the vetting process would weed out implicated officers.


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