Follow the law strictly on Kenya's public appointments

The Senate has raised a valid point that should guide future appointments to key positions in Government parastatals. For so long, individuals have been appointed to key positions in public entities only to run them down due to incompetence and corruption.

This week, while interrogating the misfortunes dogging the loss making national carrier Kenya Airways, Senators questioned the suitability of former CEO Titus Naikuni. The law says the airliner’s manager must be knowledgeable in commercial air transport.

While we do not expressly take issue with Mr Naikuni’s qualifications, the concerns raised by the Senate should prick the conscience of the appointing authorities to any public position. It would be unfortunate to give someone a job, only to realise later they were not qualified. The cost to taxpayers is huge as they lose out on efficient service delivery as growth stagnates. 

It is also hard to take because qualified and experienced individuals are denied the opportunity to serve their country. Still, for so long, the country has been held back by nepotism, while the appointing authorities give positions of influence to individuals purely based on blood relations and ethnic considerations.

In such arrangements, corruption and theft of public resources thrive, again denying the country momentum for growth. We, therefore, urge that future appointments be made strictly on merit and following all the statutory requirements. In situations where a vetting panel is involved, there should be someone thoroughly conversant with the law.