Mixed reactions greet list of nominees for NLC positions

Wednesday, August 21st, 2019 00:00 |
Former MP Tiya Galgalo, former MP Esther Murugi and city lawyer Gershom Otachi.

There were mixed reactions yesterday to the list of nine individuals nominated to lead the National Land Commission (NLC) for the next six years.

The nominees, whose names were forwarded to the Speaker of the National Assembly for vetting, included city lawyer Gershom Otachi who was nominated for chairman and eight others as members.

President Uhuru Kenyatta picked the nine from a list of 18 forwarded to him by the selection panel.

Yesterday, some political commentators and lawyers cast aspersions on the qualifications of some of the nominees whom they claimed did not qualify for the job.

Controversial city lawyer Ahmednasir Abdullahi accused the President of contravening the Constitution by “bestowing on himself unnecessary powers” in the latest appointments.

His views were echoed by lawyer Charles Omanga, who wondered how Esther Murugi and Tiya Galgalo were nominated as members of NLC yet they had only applied for the chairperson position and were shortlisted for the same.

Omanga said some candidates, whose names were presented to Parliament, allegedly do not meet the minimum threshold for appointment.

“How did Kazungu Kambi qualify to be nominated as commissioner? Where else has he worked other than being an MP and a one-time CS? He has never adjudicated in any land matters,” he said.

Top contenders for the chairperson position, whose holder will administer key land reforms, were lands economist Mwenda Makathimo, former Gatanga MP Humphrey Njuguna, Murugi and Galgalo, both former MPs.

Others were Paul Wambua, Hussein Farah and Naomi Wagereka. 

According to sources familiar with the process, the selection panel presented the names of Geothermal Development Corporation (GDC) chairman Otachi and Makathimo to the President for appointment as chairman.

Murugi topped the list of names presented to the Head of State to be appointed as members of the commission followed by university don Prof James Tuitoek.

Land economist Reginald Okumu was ranked third while Kambi (former Labour CS)was 10th. Coming eight was Galgalo.

 Sources said although Murugi and Galgalo were not shortlisted to be interviewed as members of the commission, they were, however, included in the list of those to be appointed as members. 

A member of the selection panel who sought anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter said the two former legislators applied to be interviewed for chairperson and member positions for which they were interviewed.

 “The law allows the panel to regulate its own procedures. . . if you look at our advert you will see that candidates could apply for one or the other, it was in the advert when we announced the vacancies,” the member revealed.

In their message to the President, the panel had advised the Head of State that Murugi and Galgalo had applied as chairman and member of the commission respectively.

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