Politics and policy
Kibaki revises county chiefs appointment order after controversy
Posted Tuesday, May 29 2012 at 20:15
The Executive was on Tuesday put on the defence over claims that the appointment of 47 county commissioners was a pre-election manipulation scheme.
It also emerged President Kibaki had withdrawn the original gazette notice which said the action was taken under the new Constitution. MPS were told that the appointments were based on the old Constitution.
Internal Security minister George Saitoti said the deployment of the county commissioners was meant to facilitate the national government’s preparation to coordinate functions of the central government at the county level ahead of devolution.
The minister was accompanied by Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Eugene Wamalwa and Attorney-General Githu Muigai during the meeting to explain the controversial presidential appointments two weeks ago to the Constitutional Oversight Implementation Committee (COIC).
Committee members exchanged harsh words with the three over the constitutionality of the appointments.
COIC maintained its earlier call for the revocation of the appointments until proper procedure as set out in the constitution is followed.
Members took issue with the hurried revocation of a gazette notice appointing the commissioners and replacing the same by another that failed to spell out the functions of officers.
The President revoked a gazette notice dated May 11 which appointed the commissioners and replaced it with another dated May 23, decreeing that the appointments were made according to the old constitution.
An earlier gazette notice announced that the appointments were made according to section 17 of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
MPs heard that the changes were made to take into account the concerns raised by MPs during a heated debate in Parliament last week.
But the committee members questioned the change of heart, arguing that the sections relied on by the President to “sanitise the appointments under the former” constitution do not exist under the new laws.
Prof Saitoti was directed to provide to the committee copies of letters of appointments of the officers, their qualifications, seniority, gender and the districts they hail from after the minister insisted that the appointments took into consideration constitutional requirements of regional balance and merit.
But he admitted that the gender balance could not be met given that only 11 out of the 47 officers were female.
“There are areas we could not find female District Commissioners to be promoted to County Commissioners due to historical injustices. We even went further to lower the qualifications but could not get women DC’s to be deployed as county commissioners,” he said.