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MPs reject President Uhuru’s nominee for key post

By Alphonce Shiundu | June 11th 2015
Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma. She got a rude shock after the Committee on Administration and National Security that vetted her for the job of Secretary to the Cabinet rejected her nomination. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

A committee of the National Assembly has rejected President Uhuru Kenyatta's nominee for the post of Secretary to the Cabinet.

Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma got a rude shock after the Committee on Administration and National Security that vetted her for the job of Secretary to the Cabinet rejected her nomination.

MPs are furious that during her tenure at the Ministry of Interior she had sought to bar them from accessing her office to seek irregular under-the-table favours from her docket.

However, President Uhuru Kenyatta's nominee to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation Eugene Wamalwa was unanimously approved after a short debate. His nomination was backed by both Opposition and the Government side.

Majority Leader Aden Duale and the Minority Leader Francis Nyenze rallied the House to back Wamalwa because "he has the aptitude, the will and the experience to serve as a Cabinet secretary in the ministry".

"He has all the qualifications, and it is only fair that we give him a chance," said Nyenze as the National Assembly approved his appointment.

But Juma was not lucky. In a report of the National Assembly Committee on Administration and National Security, the MPs said while she has the papers and experience, the Interior PS "lacked demonstrable passion to serve the public and their elected leaders".

"She displayed arrogance and insensitivity to the needs and concerns of the public and their elected leaders," said the committee in the report tabled by Asman Kamama.

The irony of MPs verdict is that they concede Juma has the "requisite qualifications and vast experience in the public service which qualifies her for position of Secretary to the Cabinet".

"The nominee...has never been implicated in any known scandal during her official capacity and exhibited impressive knowledge of topical issues especially those touching on security and public policy," the committee said.

They have also rejected her over the runaway insecurity, arguing that during her tenure at the Ministry of Defence and at the Ministry of Interior there was a noticeable rise in insecurity.

It will take aggressive lobbying to have the House overturn the committee's recommendation.

The chink in Juma's political armour appears to be the letter she wrote to the House telling MPs she would not cut corners to transfer or punish staff, just because they have said so.

"I wish to indicate that honouring such requests poses a huge challenge, is unsustainable and would in some cases constitute a breach of the Civil Service Code of Regulations, the provisions of the Constitution as well as policy framework," read the letter.

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