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MPs shouldn’t let voters down when checking CSs

Parliament buildings during the opening of the 13th Parliament, Nairobi, September 29, 2022 [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

Following the opening of Parliament last week, MPs are preparing the ground for the selection of President William Ruto’s nominees for the Cabinet Secretary (CS) posts.

The process is supposed to weed out those who fall short in terms of academic qualifications and integrity, among others, and only give the green light to those who do.

It is an important exercise that must be carried out with diligence and patriotism. Only those who fit the bill should be allowed for the appointment. Such a task requires sober heads; people of integrity whose sole interest is to ensure that all who are bleached are spotless.

However, this is rare as our legislators tend to make decisions based on the views of the political formations that sponsored them in Parliament. No wonder Kenyan Kwanza MPs have vowed to use their numerical strength to ensure that Dr Ruto’s candidates are cleared.

On the other hand, Azimio MPs said they promised to fight to block candidates with integrity issues. It’s the right thing to do.

Members must be reminded that they are not elected to be mere buffers. They were chosen over so many others because voters believed they were smart and wise enough to represent their interests – not blindly support the prescriptions of the president or their parties.

Presidents also make mistakes. It is highly unlikely that all of the president’s 22 CS nominees are people of integrity. If there is evidence of corruption or any other form of criminality on the part of a candidate, it is the job of MPs – be it Azimio or Kenya Kwanza – to dismiss it. That’s what the Constitution expects of them, that’s what we pay them for.

The verification process should therefore not be turned into a contest between Azimio and Kenya Kwanza. It should be used to give Kenyans the best CS; men and women of integrity who will not empty our coffers; qualified, experienced and committed people who will help build a better Kenya. Blindly bidding on their party will mean that MPs do not value their critical roles in the first place.