Why Azimio MPs want Jumwa and Linturi dropped

Majority leader Kimani Ichungwa (left) Minority leader Opiyo Wandayi and Minority Chief Whip Junet Mohamed during the vetting of Prime Cabinet Minister Nominee Musalia Mudavadi at the county Hall, Nairobi on October 18, 2022 [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Members of the Committee on Appointments from Azimio la Umoja One Kenya have rejected two Cabinet Secretary nominees.

In a dissenting report tabled in the National Assembly, eight legislators allied to the Raila Odinga-led party rejected the names of Agriculture and Livestock nominee Mithika Linturi and his Public Service and Gender and Affirmative Action counterpart Aisha Jumwa over integrity questions.

MPs Opiyo Wandayi, Robert Mbui, Junet Mohammed, David Pkosing, Naisula Lesuuda, Mishi Mboko, Abdi Shurie, and Caleb Amisi said the two nominees had integrity issues thus not fit for public office.

Their Kenya Kwanza counterparts, however, sought to endorse Linturi and Jumwa for the nominated positions.  

“We are of the firm view that Chapter Six of the Constitution was put in place by Kenyans, well aware of the highest standards of ethics and morality they needed to see in holders of public office. Kenyans did not do so in ignorance of the principles of presumption of innocence and fair hearing,” read the report.

“The intention of Kenyans was that the standards of holding public office be so elevated to a level that simple allegations tainting the office would warrant an automatic disqualification, notwithstanding any judicial finding on criminal culpability on the part of a nominee,” added the report.

On Linturi, the MPs cited 35 court cases that are active and brought to the fore the grave matter of the “questionable” academic qualifications, including what they termed his elusive Indian university degree which they said could not be traced.

Court orders

“Linturi stated that he could not present some of his academic certificates, including a degree purportedly acquired in India, following court orders that bar him from accessing his house where the said documents are allegedly kept.

He said he was only able to present evidence of the documents that did not have court cases tied around them, further noting he is presently dealing with 35 civil suits,” read the report.

They cited the dropped attempted rape charge, which they termed as “so grave as to demean the office to which Linturi has been nominated.”

The MPs also stated that according to court documents, the Agriculture CS nominee  was at the centre of a commercial dispute with Atticon Limited, which he fully owned before ceding 50 per cent shares to Baron Estates Ltd.

The ceding of ownership, they said, was in exchange for Baron Estates guaranteeing a Sh50 million loan that Linturi intended to borrow from a bank. Documents filed in court identify Baron Estates’ signatories as Rodha Kitany and Collins Kipchumba Ngetich. 

The MPs felt that the nominee did not authoritatively pronounce himself on this matter as it is allegedly pending in court.

The lawmakers also tore into Ms Jumwa, citing her pending murder case.

She is accused of the murder of Jola Ngumbao in 2019 during campaigns in the Ganda Ward by-election. She is accused jointly with her aide Geoffrey Okuto. But during vetting, Jumwa stated that she shot no one and she doesn’t know how to handle a gun and owned none.

She also asked to be turned into a prosecution witness upon the review of the case by the DPP further noting that she is seeking an out of court settlement with the family over the matter.