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We are 'clean' and now ready to serve Kenyans, says Linturi

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Agriculture CS nominee Linturi and President William Ruto at a past event in Karen. [File, Standard]

With the rape case that was hanging over his head out of the way, Agriculture Cabinet Secretary nominee Mithika Linturi now says he is ready to serve Kenyans.

Mr Linturi has waded into the issue of the integrity status of the 'Hustler Cabinet', saying the court cases against him and some of his colleagues in the Kenya Kwanza alliance were politically instigated.

"I am optimistic that just the same way I was vindicated by the courts, those who suffered at the hands of the previous regime and were punished with court cases will get justice," he said.

 

Agriculture CS nominee Linturi and President William Ruto at a past event in Karen. [File, Standard]

The Cabinet nominees are set to be vetted by Parliament, where issues of integrity for each of them are expected to feature prominently.

Buoyed by remarks of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua earlier in the week on what the opposition has termed "questionable" integrity of some nominees, Linturi says those with pending "malicious" court cases will be vindicated in coming days.

Gachagua last Sunday claimed that the cases facing Linturi and Public Service and Gender CS nominee Aisha Jumwa were "malicious" and "fabricated", telling off rival Azimio MPs who had criticised their nomination.

The case against Linturi was dropped after an out-of-court settlement while Jumwa is still facing a murder charge and a Sh19 million graft case.

"We will not deny anyone a chance to contribute to Kenya's development because they have a fabricated case," said Gachagua.

Linturi welcomed the remarks by Gachagua, a move that has set the stage for a showdown between President William Ruto's and opposition leader Raila Odinga's camps over the vetting of the Cabinet nominees in Parliament.

It will be interesting to see how Linturi and Jumwa, no strangers to controversy, will navigate the grilling by MPs who have in the past rejected some presidential nominees such as Monica Juma for Secretary to the Cabinet post in 2015 and Mwende Mwinzi as Kenya's ambassador to South Korea in 2019.

Last week, legislators allied to Azimio la Umoja coalition party, who are putting in place a shadow government to keep Ruto's administration in check, promised a gruelling vetting of the CS nominees.

In a statement, the Azimio MPs termed the proposed Hustler Cabinet as "essentially a line-up of who is who in the dark world of theft of public resources."

"...If this is the team that we must live with, then Kenyans must be prepared for tough economic and political times. The downward slide of the economy will continue," said Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi.

Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka also tore into the proposed Ruto Cabinet, saying some nominees have active criminal cases and that he would whip his party members not to approve them.

"This was not procedurally done on the basis of competencies and personal integrity and we shall direct our MPs to withhold approval of those who do not meet the Chapter Six threshold in our Constitution," said Kalonzo.

Parliament officially opened its doors last week and held its inaugural sitting, paving way for the formation of House committees.

According to the Public Appointments (Parliamentary Approval) Act, the House Business Committee will undertake approval hearings on the nominees and produce a report to the House recommending their approval or rejection within the stipulated 28 days.

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