The President has received yet another blow from Jubilee allied Members of Parliament. On Thursday MPs were quick to adopt a report by the National Assembly Administration and National Security Committee rejecting his nominee Dr Monica Juma for the position of secretary to the cabinet where the members were tasked with approving two nominees, Dr Juma and Mr Eugene Wamalwa for the position of cabinet secretary for Water and Irrigation. Mr Wamalwa’s vetting report was tabled minutes to the end of the morning session and approved only ten minutes after majority leader Aden Duale moved the motion. Things started moving south when Juma’s report was tabled. During the proceedings of her vetting she appeared at ease and answered questions with confidence but the committee chaired by Tiaty MP Asman Kamama found enough reasons to reject her.
So where did the rain start beating the Doctor? A letter she wrote to parliamentarians in October 2014 during her tenure as the principal secretary for internal security seemed to be haunting her. In the letter she requested them to stop incessant visits to her office asking for transfer of officers posted in certain areas. She said that granting them such favours would be a breach of the Constitution and that proper channels needed to be followed for such procedures. This is said to have angered a good number of MPs leading to 163 voting against her only 50 in her favour.
Lagdera Member of Parliament Mohammed Shidiye has also added another twist to Juma’s tribulations. He has cited her refusal to release 1.6 billion shillings that was meant to help curb insecurity in the North Eastern region as the heart of the problem. In the wake of the April Garissa University terrorist attack that left 147 people dead, leaders from the region approached the President and his Dp who offered the funds to help security agencies in Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Isiolo, Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot. It is alleged that as the Chief Accounting Officer she vehemently refused to release the funds because the leaders did not provide a breakdown of how the money would be spent.
There might be more than meets the eye in this drama as some MPs allege that Dr. Juma is just a sacrificial lamb carrying Duale’s cross. It is whispered that some Jubilee lawmakers are not comfortable with him as the leader of majority citing the fact that his region voted for CORD during the last general elections. They also claim that he is using his position to ammass wealth for himself and he does not have Jubilee’s interests at heart. This rejection is therefore a well choregraphed move to set him up. The plot is to use his failure to Marshall support to save Dr. Juma against him. Power play has also been pin pointed. Whether legislators are in cold war with the Executive is a question that analysts are still grappling with.
All is not lost for Dr. Juma as several groups have come out to defend her. On Monday The Universities Female Student Leaders Association lead by its chairlady Irene Kendi gave MPs upto Wednesday to approve her nomination or else they would march to Parliament and shut it. National Gender and Equality Commission has also started an online campaign in her support. Gatundu south MP Mosses Kuria and Duale have also hinted that a plan is cooking to save Juma. The Constitution Implementation Commission has also added voice to the story saying it would move to court to seek clarification on whether the National Assembly has the mandate to disapprove the nomination.
Cheap politics continue to manifest in our leadership. Dr. Juma has good academic credentials and a good record as a public servant. She has never been implicated in any corruption scandal has struggled to serve the public with passion and diligence. The arrogance and insensitivity pointed out by Kamama’s committee is just a mere scapegoat to breed selfishness and impunity among our leaders. It shows uttermost neglect a priority based leadership and the adoption of mediocrity and pettiness. Kenyan lawmakers should embrace civilization and rise above personal differences for the benefit of the common citizen.